Fast-food chain Pret á Manager is, according to a report in the Guardian, ‘offering’ teenagers a week’s “work experience” over the Summer.
(The scheme is presented by their PR as something to do with recruiting ‘British’ teenagers to work in their stores, as most of their staff are non-British; an idea, which from certain points of view, seems simply racist. What’s wrong with non British workers?).
This kind of development should surprise no one. The gloves are truly off in capitalism. While exploitation is enshrined within capitalism it has, until quite recently, been held back from going the final mile, by a remnant of decency and morality. However; recently even these restraints are being abandoned. In a “progressive” shift in the culture such extreme kinds of exploitation can now confidently be explained away as “giving young people experience”. Power is so deeply buried – and yet so ascendant – that this kind of exploitation can be presented as normal.
In a competitive labour market, without restraints, it is entirely logical that people will find their first job is one they have to work for free; maybe even actually pay for. Expect more of this.