Call for MOBO awards to stop using unpaid interns

MOBO Awards organisers have been criticised over the use of unpaid interns. Picture: PA

MOBO Awards organisers have been criticised over the use of unpaid interns. Picture: PA

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Organisers of the MOBO music awards have been criticised over the use of unpaid volunteers to prepare for next month’s ceremony.

The broadcasting union Bectu has written a letter of complaint and said it will contact HM Revenue and Customs, which is responsible for enforcing the national minimum wage.

General secretary Gerry Morrissey said the organisers of the Music of Black Origin awards were “steeped” in equality and should not be “exploiting” people.

The union called for anyone who has been taken on to work on the awards, being held in Glasgow on October 19, to be paid at least the minimum wage.

“Bectu was disappointed to learn that MOBO has recruited interns to work for 12 weeks in a variety of responsible roles.

“For an organisation rooted in the principles of equality we are very disappointed that MOBO is once again seeking to exploit weak enforcement of the national minimum wage by choosing not to pay its interns.

“This situation is even more incredible given the highly commercial nature of the event and its connections to music multi-nationals,” said Mr Morrissey’s letter.

The union said it had contacted the organisers in 2011 over the use of unpaid volunteers.

A MOBO spokesman said: “We have a huge amount of requests for volunteers. To help give unskilled workers the opportunity to work within an entertainment environment and to try and support these requests, we invited a number of volunteers into the office enabling them to be guided by professionals and gain invaluable skills, whilst covering their expenses. Now we are in the production stage of the event, we do not have any volunteers helping in the office.

“Regarding the actual show in Glasgow, as requested by our Scottish partners, we have been working in conjunction with Young Scot to provide opportunities for a small number of volunteers. This programme has been designed by Young Scot to help give young people in Scotland, who are unskilled in this area, valuable event and life skills experience in a high profile, live entertainment environment.”

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