Police foil Paris protest over unpaid interns

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Police foiled a flash-mob protest in Paris on Saturday against plans by retailers hard-hit by recession to beef up their sales staff with unpaid interns in the run-up to Christmas.

Paris - Police foiled a flash-mob protest in Paris on Saturday against plans by retailers hard-hit by recession to beef up their sales staff with unpaid interns in the run-up to Christmas.

The protesters, from a group called Generation Precaire, descended on Place de la Madeleine in the heart of the French capital, only to be confronted by a police cordon that had been deployed for other scheduled demonstrations.

They did manage, however, to scribble graffiti on the sidewalk -- including, in English, "too many (unpaid) internships = not fair work" -- and meet two advisers to Martin Hirsch, the French government's high commissioner for youth.

They also told of unpaid internships being offered to young jobseekers, including one from a luxury goods boutique looking for someone with knowledge of both English and Chinese.

"It's a new phenomenon to see so many sales internships in time for the holiday season," said protester Yannick Miel. "This is a time when students are looking for small (paid) jobs, but they're finding unpaid internships instead."

AFP/Expatica

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