University student job criticised by workers’ rights group

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Taylor Robertson
Travel Editor

The University of Glasgow is currently seeking a Student Social Media Officer to add to its social media team. Workers’ rights group Better Than Zero have recently criticised the University’s student job offering for “following the lowest common denominator of poverty pay and unpaid internships”.

According to the job description, the purpose of the Student Social Media Officer is to “create, enhance and contribute to social media content from a student’s perspective”.

Students are committed to a two-year contract, unless they are completing their final year of study. Attendance at monthly meetings is compulsory as well as attendance at at least one event per month. Contribution to student-relevant content throughout the month is also noted under the roles responsibilities.

For this, the student will be paid £250 per year and will receive “Student Social Media Officer Swag”. Full training will be given as well as early access to new social media campaigns and initiatives.

The minimum wage for 18-20 year olds in the UK is £5.55. If the University were to pay the minimum wage for this age range to the Student Social Media Officer, and only obliged them to work for the eight months of the university term, the student still could not work anymore than 5.63 hours per month in order to be paid a legal wage.

Workers’ rights group Better Than Zero said: “The Better Than Zero campaign condemns Glasgow University’s decision to offer a job which fails to pay even the minimum wage. As one of the country’s leading educational institutions, university management should be setting an example of decent work rather than following the lowest common denominator of poverty pay and unpaid internships.

“This Christmas our campaign will be taking to the streets of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen to take direct action against the worst employers in the country. We would hope that university management withdraw their derisory pay offer or we may have to add them to our list.”

A University of Glasgow spokesperson said: “Our pilot Student Media Officer scholarship programme was inspired by the many student volunteers who have offered to share their experiences of University life via our social media channel in recent months. These social media takeovers have been very well-received by our audiences, and we were keen to build on that success by offering a more structured and mutually rewarding programme for future participants.

“The Student Media Officers will have the opportunity to learn valuable digital skills without placing a challenging additional burden on top of their coursework and other commitments. They are encouraged to set their own hours and workload in return for the chance to learn from our innovative social media team, to create their own content to share with a wide-ranging and engaged audience, and a modest financial reward.”

The programme’s main goal is “to encourage new development, creativity and innovation in a real world working environment” while offering students the flexibility to work around their studies.