By Claire West

Commenting on proposals announced recently by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) that interns should be paid a £2.50 hourly wage, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

'This proposal would allow unscrupulous employers to ignore the national minimum wage (NMW), since the concept of internships is not defined in law.

'The idea of a minimum wage rate for training has already been tried and it failed. In 2006 the government abolished the NMW development rate after it was found to have been widely abused.

'The TUC is strongly in favour of good training schemes, but we must always be on our guard against rogue bosses who want to use unpaid interns instead of paid workers.

'We urgently need more rigorous enforcement of the NMW to ensure that so-called interns are not exploited and abused.'