Hurrah! The Economist (UK) has noticed the issue and they side with this blog:
“Although the “intern” label is sometimes attached to jobs in order to pay less than the minimum wage (which guarantees £5.35 per hour, or £4.45 for those aged 18 to 21), there is no such exception in law unless the stint is part of an educational course (which most are not). Yet the situation has gone unchallenged, partly because it is so widespread. MPs are unlikely to press for better enforcement, given that they themselves have been enthusiastic users of unpaid researchers. Many newspapers are in no position to kick up a fuss.”
This is the most mainstream mention of the problem since the op-ed in the NewYork Times last summer and the article in the Christian Science Monitor in May. It may be a sign that the topic is picking up and that it will soon get the attention it deserves. Or maybe not, as the last sentence of the quote above suggests.
The article suggests that unfair internships may be on the rise in the UK, but also reports on some interesting initiatives such as the Labour Party forbidding unfair internships and Oxford University calling employers who offer unfair internships to ask them to justify themselves. I wish we could have a transcript of one of those phone conversations.