Alliance Education and Learning spokesperson Councillor Michael long has described the Government’s plan to introduce a new minimum wage for 16-17 year-olds as “a recognition of the existing exploitation of young workers”
Cllr Long called on the Government to go even further and introduce a single minimum rate for all workers across the board, instead of using a worker’s age as an excuse to pay them less.
Cllr Long said: “The govt have finally realised that having no minimum wage for under 18s has resulted in the exploitation of young workers. I am pleased to see the introduction of some form of minimum wage for over 16s.
“However, the minimum level set for under 18s and 21s is a wholly inadequate response to the fact that many young people are paid pitifully low wages.
“Alliance has been calling for a single minimum wage for everyone since its introduction and we regard the lower rates as a form of age discrimination. Alliance believes in equality and therefore it is unfair that young people get less pay for doing the same job simply because of their age.
“Young people are amongst the most vulnerable in our society and are currently being exploited as a cheap source of labour, in part due to the failure of the Government to include them in the minimum wage scheme until now.
“Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction, but Alliance will be calling for the Government to tackle the problem more seriously.”