Technical duties structured into eight-hour days, symbolic wages, lack of teacher supervision… The rights and promotion of the youth labor market is something that has not historically accompanied the figure of the trainee.
“After a year of internship, they stopped answering me,” explains graphic design college student Susanna, who does extracurricular internships to earn some money. “They asked me for the most technical job that nobody wanted to do,” she adds. Currently an undergraduate student, he was dedicated to creating models of t-shirts whose designs could not see the light. “It affected my self-esteem and I thought it was useless,” she complains.
The Department of Labor is developing a Scholarship Statute that addresses issues such as ending the misuse of this figure and reimbursement for expenses including materials or transportation. “We understand that non-labor internships don’t have to be paid for, because the goal is to educate, not produce,” says CC OO youth director Adrià Junyent.
Currently, there are about 450,000 trainees in Spain, according to a study by the union, although there is no official registration in the country. “There will be records when they contribute to Social Security,” Junyent adds. This is another of the most relevant points raised in the new charter, although it was already included in a block of pension reform in July 2021. At present, the maximum period for which the Government must approve is three months.
The CC OO union representative highlights a 2013 Eurobarometer that found that 60% of those who carry out non-work practices are fraudulent. “In general, there are people who do non-employment internships and cover structural positions, which means lowering labor costs,” adds the head of CC OO.
Íñigo is a 23-year-old college student who has completed 350 hours of curricular internships from 8am to 13pm and from 4pm to 5pm. “You come to the company blindly to see what’s coming, and the tasks are often not defined,” says a computer science student from Navarra. In his case, despite making four-day journeys on public transport, each lasting a quarter of an hour, he did not receive any fare. In her case, she got a follow-up from the teacher, even though some of her classmates revealed she didn’t have any. The new regulation also affects greater cooperation between the University and companies. “There is no constant contact between students and teachers. “Beyond the end of the assessment, one should be interested in what the student is doing,” says Eduardo Magaldi, spokesperson for RUGE-Revolución Ugetista.
Another study conducted by RUGE denounces that the youngest’s non-labor practices are displacing nearly 300,000 jobs. “There are templates where 70% are trainees,” Magaldi explains. Therefore, another issue stated in the draft is that the number of these is limited according to the size of the company. Generally, companies with a maximum of ten employees can have an intern from one intern to up to 5% of the workforce in companies with more than 60 employees.
“The Scholarship Charter is a catalog of rights, such as maximum working hours or the right to vacation,” explains Nicolás Hernández, head of the Public Universities Student Representatives Coordinator (CREUP).
Junyent said the Ministry of Labor convened the first social dialogue table to draft the charter on April 22 and plans to send the final draft to the Cabinet “at the end of the month”. However, the fringes are waiting to unravel. For agreement, the unions see it as “basic” to remove extra-curricular courses as alternatives to the curriculum. “It’s decisive because that’s where the biggest fraud happens, because it’s deregulated,” CC OO adds. Other proposals would be economic sanctions of between 5,000 and 10,000 euros for companies that have interns doing a job, allowing them to miss internships to go to the doctor, estimating transport service to students, or expanding inspection capacity. Some of the changes are at the expense of whether they are ultimately processed as a regulation or law.
Although, according to sources, the most important thing is to ensure that students receive a good education during their time in the company, otherwise “the remaining points will be of no use”.