The Green Party has put out a call for “volunteer” interns to Trinity students despite advocating in favour of a ban on unpaid internships.
The party’s employment policy supports that all internships should be paid at at least minimum wage in all for-profit organisations.
An email sent to students by the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy advertised a five-day pilot work placement with the party in January 2021. Chosen interns would be assigned to one of five units in the party: Administrative, Communications, Operations, Parliamentary Party or Research.
The school expressed that they were “delighted” to announce the pilot programme.
In the brochure attached to the email, the party outlined that “a stipend will be provided at the end of all successful participation in recognition of the work contribution made by participants. Vouched travel, subsistence, and/or work-related expenses such as mobile phone and/or broadband top-ups will be reimbursed.”
There were no details of any other payment given in this brochure.
Speaking to Trinity News, a woman who interned with the Green Party in 2018 said that she was not paid for her internship.
The former intern saw on the party’s website that they compensate their interns and she then requested to be paid. She said that she was then told the party did not have the money to pay interns and her requests for payment for both work and for travel expenses were denied.
She felt that this was “hypocritical” of the party given their policy stance on unpaid internships.
She said that given that the internships are full time, many interns “needed that money to get by” and that she “would have been happy with travel expenses even.”
She stated that, to her knowledge, none of the interns that she worked with were paid. She feels that it is “most important to make parties accountable.” She found it “really disheartening to see people not wanting to come forward with this stuff” and she wishes that “there were more people advocating for transparency in the government”.
On their website currently, the party outlines the principles it follows with respect to internships. One such principle states that “interns should be compensated for their work”.
However, in the details given on this principle, it says that interns must either “be benefiting in terms of gaining an academic credit for their time here, or they go onto our payroll as a temporary employee.”