10/12/2013 09:32 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

JOY Withdraws Six Month Unpaid Internship After Being Slammed As 'Arrogant'

JOY Withdraws Six Month Unpaid Internship After Being Slammed As 'Arrogant'

A high street fashion retailer has withdrawn a six-month unpaid internship but has been dubbed "arrogant" after not apologising.

JOY removed the advertisement for the six to 12 month position after being contacted by The Huffington Post UK.

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The clothing company, which now says the job ad was a mistake, had been recruiting for a "full time" design intern - but only offering a lunch allowance of £5 and travel expenses between zones one and three.

The company's press officer told HuffPost UK the role was not paid because "there are things you can't tell from a CV, especially someone who has not had a permanent job".

Shortly after however, HuffPost UK received an email from another member of JOY staff saying: "The design internship role on the website was posted without sign-off from our HR team. Thank you for bringing this to our attention – it has now been removed."

The advert, which has since been removed from the site

Tanya de Grunwald, founder of Graduate Fog, which campaigns against unpaid internships, demanded an apology from the chain.

"JOY's arrogant response is likely to anger their critics further," de Grunwald, who originally published the advert as part of a Shame Intern Scrooges campaign, said. "Where is their apology? I have scoured the full statement and can't see the word 'sorry' anywhere.

"JOY's attitude is typical of many employers when quizzed about their use of unpaid interns.

"I've confronted scores of employers and this is the pattern. First, they claim the posting of the advert was an oversight. Next, they bang on about past interns who later moved into permanent, paid roles - apparently not realising that this underlines how unfair internships are, as they lock out poorer candidates from these opportunities.

"Then, they highlight again what 'valuable experience' they are offering through these unpaid roles, serving to undermine young people's belief in the value of their contribution, with or without experience."

Earlier this year fashion giant Alexander McQueen apologised for posting an ad for a six to 11-month unpaid internship, saying it was an "error".

A spokesperson for JOY said: "The experience, contacts and training they attain will be invaluable for them should they remain at JOY or move elsewhere within the sector following the completion of their internship."

They added: "When we take on someone for a JOY internship, it is generally with the hope that ultimately we will be able to offer them a full-time position."

De Grunwald continued: "In doing all this, they miss the point entirely. Unpaid internships exploit those who do them - and exclude those who can't afford to do them. The minimum wage law says that anybody who qualifies as a "worker" must be paid at least the minimum wage for their work.

"This is non-negotiable. The employer must pay this wage - and interns cannot waive their right to be paid."