The Musicians’ Union (MU) has said it will fight to get young musicians on full-time internships to be paid more fairly.
It will speak at the Trade Union Congress (TUC) annual conference next month (September) to voice concerns regarding the music industry, arguing that currently, interns do not get paid a decent rate.
The issue will also be raised at the TUC’s young members’ conference, in which a motion for the event claims unpaid internships are “exploitative”.
A motion appearing in the preliminary agenda for the three-day conference says: “It is unfair for interns, who are often employed full-time, not to be paid the going rate for the work they do, just as it is wrong that many performing artists are expected to work for nothing when they are engaged for charitable and fundraising events.”
Indeed, the MU will also highlight concerns that musicians are being “emotionally blackmailed” to work for free at charity events when they should be able to make the choice to take part in fundraising events rather than feel pressured to do so.
“It is extremely unfair to put professional musicians into a situation where they are emotionally blackmailed into working for no fee and are asked to give their services to a good cause,” the motion states.
Another argument put forward by the MU for the right for professional musicians to have the choice to do events is that other workers such as venue staff and caterers are paid for their services.
The MU represents over 30,000 musicians working in the music business and aims to support the rights of its members. At its recent conference, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber urged musicians to campaign for a strong Arts sector in times of deep cuts.
Most recently, the MU has called for a fair compensation scheme to be introduced as the government looks towards an exception to UK copyright law which would legalise the act of making a private copy of a CD.
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