Concord Rangers FC – want a worker, don’t want to pay.

Work for recent graduates is thin on the ground at the moment, for obvious reasons. A whole cohort of journalism and media graduates have just staggered out of their academic institutions, some £50,000 lighter in the pocket but at least secure in the knowledge that they now have some real, practical skills which will be of good value to employers, to deploy as soon as they are back in the recruitment game.

Much joy then when a cracking job turns up on social media. For a “Head of Media” (a title too!) no less, for a club called Concord Rangers FC. The position calls for someone to write articles for the matchday programme, conduct interviews, run the social media and generally busy themselves in the service the club.

A perfect opportunity then for someone who has just spent three years training for such an opportunity. Except for the not-so-small print on the advert:

Pay: a ticket to each home and away game.

Now most people, even those who like to watch a bit of football in their spare time, know that tickets to a Concord Rangers game aren’t likely to be accepted by the butcher, baker and candlestick maker when you go to buy your etc etc etc. Nor are they usually accepted as a payment in lieu of rent, or heating, or even beer. So how does this organisation expect this busy Head of Media to pay all his/her bills?

Well frankly, they don’t really seem too bothered by the details of all that. I asked Andy Smith of the club why this was not a paid job, given all the demands being made of this person and given the “pay” that they were offering. He however rather took umbrage at that question, saying he did not “wish to waste time responding to unproductive enquiries”.

“Unproductive” a rather fitting word to describe the job, given the circumstances. It seems that this is a football club which doesn’t much value the work they will be receiving or the workers doing it, given the lack of remuneration. I recommend whoever does take this job to raid the fridge while the team are on the pitch and run off with the half time lemons. That’ll leave a bitter taste in the mouth…

Red Alert – The Events Industry Hold A Day Of Action

Our colleagues in the Events Industry are holding a day of action NEXT TUESDAY 11th August. The idea is the raise awareness of an industry that remains totally closed down and with no end in sight. Find out more and support them if you can.

Register here to attend
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wemakeevents-red-alert-day-of-action-registration-115742164931

Post expires at 6:31am on Wednesday August 12th, 2020

The National Youth Film Academy and the curious case of the Trustpilot reviews…

Ever wondered how the NYFA manages to secure so many glowing reviews on Trustpilot when its courses have come in for such negative opinion elsewhere?

Then wonder no longer. The answer lies in an email from NYFA founder Rob Earnshaw to former course members, offering to cross their palms with silver if they convey lots of warm words about their experience:

I am writing to ask if you would be able to leave a review of the National Youth Film Academy on Trust Pilot?” he says.

“The reason we have created a Trust Pilot account is so that we can share with future employers and members success stories from our company. We are writing to past Members, Tutors, Parents, assistants and Mentors. The more positive reviews we have, the easier it is for us to engage with employers so as to build the reputation of the NYFA and the Members we represent”.

In case it isn’t clear what he wants, he goes on to say:

If you could leave a positive review about your experience it would be greatly appreciated

And in case you were wondering why you should bother to do that, the answer lies in nice big bold letters at the end:

We would like to offer you £25.00 for your time. Once you have created your review, please can you email me back a link to your review along with your bank details and I shall ensure that monies are paid within 2 working
days”.

So those Trustpilot reviews aren’t exactly impartial evidence of the quality of its courses then. Worth remembering if they should tempt you into forking over large sums of money for their (much lambasted) offering in the future.

Enough Talk – Time for Action.

A big callout from our friend Adeel Amini from The TV Mindset. He’s going up to Edinburgh (in a virtual kind of way) next week to host a roundtable with various TV movers and shakers, to talk about freelancers’ rights.

He’s the man who’s making this happen, on behalf of all of us, so the least we can do is to give him some ammunition to load into his pop gun when he’s holding feet to flames and noses to grindstones and probably lots of other tortuous torture metaphors.

So here’s what he wants from you, in his own words:

Enough talk: Time For Action.

Everything we’ve done over the last few months has led to this. Next week The TV Mindset joins forces with the Edinburgh TV Festival to put freelancer issues back in the spotlight. Whether it’s recruitment, diversity, hours, bullying, or any other issue, we’ll be demanding action from indies (Tuesday), broadcasters (Thursday) and then all the way to the very top – and I mean the *very* top – for public, written commitment at the start of the Edinburgh TV Festival.

Our employers are beginning to forget about what we’ve been through, and what we continue to go through every single day. This is our chance to come together and make some real change in a public forum that cannot be ignored. We make this industry go round, and our voices will not go unheard.

To do that, The TV Mindset needs the help of every freelancer, everyone who’s ever resonated with one of our posts, and everyone who’s ever felt bullied or damaged or ignored by this industry. We need you to:

1) Register for these sessions here: https://www.thetvfestival.com/whats-on/digital-weeklies/
2) Send your stories, questions, or solutions in to adeelamini@gmail.com
3) Share this event as far and wide as possible.

I’ve said before that I will do everything in my power to make sure that this industry doesn’t come out of this crisis the way it went in. This is that moment, and it needs every freelancer to show up. To speak up. To fight together like never before.

I can’t even begin to relate how difficult, fraught, and taxing the last few weeks have been in getting these sessions together. But if we can make this crisis and our pain mean something – *anything* – then it will all be worthwhile.

I hope we can count on your support, and I hope we can do you all justice. See you there.

So, as Adeel says – Time for Action – please help him by doing the above!

Mamma Marketing “internships”

Big red flags are waving over adverts which have started appearing on various job sites over the past few weeks, all posted by an organisation called “Mamma Marketing“.

This company appears to be basing its business model on hiring “interns” to work for them to edit videos for their clients. Adverts for writers have also been appearing, based at a variety of different locations, the common theme being that those who are lucky enough to be selected will have the opportunity to receive feedback on the work they do for Mamma’s clients.

There is no mention of pay on any of these adverts (despite asking for a year’s experience) and the company isn’t answering the question either, the postings simply suggesting that paid work might be possible after 3-6 months. Coincidentally the company is also offering new business clients the opportunities of testing their services for a six month trial priced “at only a fraction of what the vast majority of digital agencies ask for“. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to join the dots here on how the company may be able to offer such a cheap service for new business…

So a warning then: if you are thinking of applying for an internship at Mamma Marketing, you may wish to check whether you will be paid for your work on their client business (and you should expect a reasonable rate for skilled work). And if you are a potential client you may wish to ask how this very cheap introductory offer is being funded.

Mamma Marketing – beware!

Blink Productions and the minimum wage.

Word reaches the Watercooler of a company which has had a stream of people through its doors doing unpaid work experience, under circumstances which suggest they should have been paid for what they did. 

The company is Blink Productions based in Wardour Street. I asked the Managing Director, Paul Weston, why the company did not pay those who came in to do work for the company at least the legal minimum for their hours. He replied that “we are not currently able to offer any work experience for the foreseeable future” which, while that may be true of course, isn’t really an answer to the question I asked. 

If any worker believes that they have not been paid the minimum wage in circumstances which suggest they should have been, that can always be reported to HMRC here. They would be happy to follow up and secure you the payment you should have received, as well as levy arrears on offending companies and name and shame them on their offenders list. 

No pay, but you are allowed to take the dog for a walk…

Linkedin is the go to place for many a career hungry young person nowadays, but lurking on the pages are also to be found those employers who fancy getting a bit of free labour for their businesses.

Which is what a company called The Longest Stay did this week, posting this advert for someone to film videos for them and do some social media work:

The owner of the company is Sherry Roberts. She presumably also owns the dog mentioned in the advert – the one who likes to be petted and taken for a walk.

I imagine that the little Shitzu pooch gets its three meals a day (or however many a Shitzu eats), which is more than the person who takes this work would be able to fund, given that food does cost real money, which is in somewhat short supply in terms of a wage packet for this work.

I asked Sherry why she was not paying this person at least the minimum wage for their work. She replied by denying that the work was ever offered as unpaid (rather odd, given the presence of the words “non paid” on the advert). She also now says that she has decided to pay a freelancer to do some of it instead and then get unpaid University students on work experience to do the rest.

Lucky them. She’d better get those students in soon. That dog won’t walk itself.