End age discrimination over the minimum wage

Alliance Vice Chair and Castlereagh Councillor Michael Long has called for the £5.35 minimum hourly wage to be extended to people over 16. It currently only applies to people over the age of 21 and Michael Long described this as age discrimination. His demands come as the government today launched a crackdown on employers who refuse to pay staff the minimum wage. Trade and Industry Secretary, Alastair Darling today announced that employers in breach of the legislation will face £200 fines for each employee they have failed to pay correctly.

Cllr Michael Long said: “The government should also be focusing on creating on standard minimum wage for people of all ages. There are currently three tiers of minimum wage according to age. This is blatant age discrimination.

“There is a real need for government to tackle age discrimination of every sort.

“An equal minimum wage would end disparities and mean fairness for all.

“The £5.35 minimum wage is low enough in itself without young people being paid less. £5.35 is barely even a living wage, so anything lower means that people cannot afford to have a decent standard of living.

“Young people find it difficult enough to financially survive at the moment and harmonising the minimum wage at a time when house prices and rent are increasing seems only fair.”


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