Commenting on reports of poor working conditions faced by unpaid stewards of the Diamond Jubilee, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

‘The appalling treatment of staff working for free over the Diamond Jubilee weekend highlights the damage that unpaid work experience risks causing people who are desperate to get back into proper employment, as well as the exploitative treatment that they can face.

‘The fact that unpaid job seekers were working alongside fully paid employees also suggests that government programmes may be displacing proper jobs that pay at least the minimum wage.

‘The main experience gained by staff appears to have been poor working conditions and exploitation. Worse still, the government is encouraging more employers to treat staff poorly at work by stepping up its attacks on basic employment rights.

‘This case has attracted attention because of its link to the Diamond Jubilee. Sadly low-paid vulnerable employment such as this occurs on a daily basis throughout the country. The number of involuntary temporary workers is at a record high. These are not the jobs that will take Britain out of recession and improve people’s living standards.’