Chiswick Based Oil Industry Giant Under Fire Over Unpaid Interns

Halliburton attacked for offering employment without pay


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Oil industry company Halliburton has been criticised for advertising unpaid UK internships, while making billions in profits.

In an advert on its recruitment site, Halliburton said it was seeking “people who want to innovate, achieve, grow and lead” for student internships at its office in Chiswick, west London.

The story was published in the graduate fog blog and later picked up by The Guardian newspaper.

The oilfield services compis based in Building Four at Chiswick House, reported revenues of $16bn (£12bn) last year, and said the full-time positions were part of an unpaid work experience programme. The advert, discovered by Graduate Fog, also claims Halliburton is an equal opportunities employer.

The Labour party has pledged to ban such schemes in its manifesto, on the basis that it is “not fair for some to get a leg up when others can’t afford to”.

There have been calls in the past to stop unpaid internships on the basis that it privileges those from better-off backgrounds who can afford to take unpaid roles instead of a part time job. Campaigners also claim that rich companies should not be taking on full-time employees without pay as it is unethical.

The issue came up in the Labour Party election manifesto.

view of Chsiwick Park

Chiswick Park

Interns in the UK are entitled to the national minimum wage unless they are under 16 or are taking part in a student internship for less than a year as part of a school or university course.

Halliburton said applicants for its unpaid positions could use their work as part of a degree but did not say whether they formed part of a recognised course in partnership with specific universities.

In a statement, the company said it “provides some unpaid internship opportunities to college students in an effort to provide practical work experience which can be used to achieve higher qualification and obtain employment within the industry when students graduate.

“During the internships, students work on projects that can be used in dissertations and studies that are essential to graduate. Halliburton also has a paid internship programme across all areas of its global organisation.”

According to the Guardian article, the company declined to say how many unpaid internships it was offering, or whether successful applicants would receive expenses for travel or food.

Tanya de Grunwald, the founder of Graduate Fog, said it was unclear how the roles fitted in with university courses. “Halliburton is worth billions – it’s outrageous they’re asking their young staff to work for free when they can more than afford to pay the living wage. Certainly, few big UK firms would make this mistake in 2017.

“If this is a proper student placement it should be clearly labelled as such, include a clear start and end date, and be advertised through universities who will ensure it meets the requirements for course credit. You can’t just call something a student placement to justify it being unpaid.”

June 10, 2017

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