03 November 2006

Labour Party - Rogue Employer

As previously blogged by Croydonian here and Iain Dale here, the Labour Party offered a work experience placement to an aspiring film-maker to assist with a film of the Cabinet for their party conference. 22 year-old Danny Dewsbury , (who has £13k of student debt) was keen to get this opportunity to add to his cv and was promised expenses. Not only have the Labour party only paid £250 of the £395 of expenses that Danny incurred (after receiving a letter from a lawyer), but the nature of the role that he took, was very much more than a work experience or shadowing role.

Danny was the sole film-maker, cameraman and editor on this party project. He was expected to and did supply his own camera equipment and was directed to turn up at different locations throughout the country to film different members of the Cabinet. Danny, who is not a Labour member was engaged to provide a professional service to the Labour party. This was real work. Take a look at this video and decide for yourself.



According to this Grauniad article, government guidance suggests that the HMRC would consider Danny's arrangement with the Labour Party to be employment, and as such the Labour Party are bound by minimum wage legislation. For further reading here is a link to the National Minimum Wages Act 1998. Chapter 28 of this act is interesting as it states that, if challenged, the burden of proof re status does lie on the "employer".

"28. - (1) Where in any civil proceedings any question arises as to whether an individual qualifies or qualified at any time for the national minimum wage, it shall be presumed that the individual qualifies or, as the case may be, qualified at that time for the national minimum wage unless the contrary is established."

Clearly, Labour are contractually obliged to refund his expenses, but myself and certain other Conservative activists have considered the situation and have decided that we are prepared to meet the Labour Party's ethical obligation and to renumerate Danny for his six days site work and three days of editing. The national minimum wage for workers aged 22 and over is £5.05 per hour. I’m estimating that Danny worked 76 hours in over these nine days (Danny let me know if it was more) and so we will be raising a sum of £385. Please let me know if you would like to make a contribution and/or support this gesture against this rogue employer. I will bankroll the difference between what others manage to raise and what Danny is entitled to.

If the Labour Party continue to defend their position on this I for one will be persuaded that they are not just financially bankrupt but morally bankrupt, too.

Note Re Internships

I must draw a distinction between volunteers seeking an unpaid internship with a political party or an MP and Danny’s project. Whilst the legal position is also grey re interns, it is a commonplace arrangement where both parties go into the arrangement with full information. In Danny’s case, I am afraid the circumstances described suggest he was deliberately duped by his temporary employer.

19 comments:

Croydonian said...

I'm in. I'll go halves with you on it as the guarantors, with a sliding reduction for both of us if we can get this ball rolling.

My post's here

Meanwhile, good for you for walking it like you talk it.

Anonymous said...

Stick me down for Twenty quid

Praguetory said...

Thanks for these contributions guys. How I explain this to my girlfriend is getting slightly easier with these pledges.

Anonymous said...

Same here we are moving house with attendant additional costs, but there are times when you have to put your money were your mouth is- I have put a link on my blog to yours, hopefully by the end of the weekend the news will get out and Danny can get paid. As the father of a 21 student this sort of thing makes my blood boil.

Rigger Mortice said...

I'm in for a small doantion will liaise with Croydonian

Samuel Coates said...

I'll chip in a bit.

Anonymous said...

I'm in.

newmania said...

Isn`t it his fault for trusting the Labour Party ? This sort of thing happens to everyone everyday. Perhaps I `m a bad person but I don`t get it..
Is he a friend of yours ?

Anonymous said...

Newmania- were (or are you ) cynical as a twenty year old

Praguetory said...

Having read your blog and comments on other sites, Newmania I have to say that I thought that you were all for direct action.

Although I'm not expecting this to happen, the best result all round would be if Labour came to their senses and paid the bloke...

and if he was my friend I'd've been advocating for him to get the full daily rates for a professional film-maker.

kinglear said...

I'm in for £20 - where do we send it to? And I'll chip in on the backup guarantee for a third - or less as others come in.

Croydonian said...

I'll look into setting up a Paypal or Amazon honour system thing....

JT said...

"Shadow" cabinet? I wish! Unfortunately it was the genuine Cabinet he filmed...

Praguetory said...

Thanks for pointing out that blooper. I've corrected. Anyway, that's enough blogging - I am off to a nuclear bunker. Labour press officers will be off duty by now so I'm not bothering with comment moderation.

Tom Paine said...

I'll go thirds with you and Croydonian.

Croydonian said...

At this rate we'll make a profit. Much appreciated Tom.

Anonymous said...

Can people say here how much they are in for - or sign my pledge bank at http://tinyurl.com/yypacv

I don't mind which - praguetory and I will pool together the pledges in both places.

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