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Age discrimination is not OK, young workers deserve better pay says Usdaw

Date: 05 July 2018 Shopworkers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis is urging MPs to support Holly Lynch MP who has introduced a private members' bill to extend the National Living Wage to workers aged over 18. The National Living Wage (Extension to Young People) Bill is due to have its second reading tomorrow, Friday 6 July.
The Government introduced the National Living Wage for those aged 25 and over, currently £7.83 per hour. Under-25s are only entitled to the National Minimum Wage in the following age bands:
 
  • Under 18s (£4.20 per hour)
  • 18 – 20 (£5.90 per hour)
  • 21 -24 (£7.38 per hour)
Yesterday young members from Usdaw attended Parliament to lobby MPs to support the Bill. 

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Holly Lynch MP with young Usdaw members at Parliament campaigning for ‘fair wages for all ages’.

 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Usdaw has long supported the principle of equal pay for equal work.  We have successfully negotiated the removal of age-related pay in many of the major retailers that we negotiate with. Those employers, who are doing the right thing by their young workers, are vulnerable to being undercut by employers who take advantage of a law that discriminates by age. Holly Lynch’s Bill is very welcome because it creates a level playing field based on fairness for young workers.
 
“The Government sets a poor example to employers by suggesting that young workers are less valuable and less productive than their older counterparts.  They attempt to justify lower pay for younger workers by saying that higher rates would increase youth unemployment.  However the only other EU country that does not pay the full adult rate until the age of 25 is Greece, a country suffering with more than 40% youth unemployment. In the UK, unemployment for young workers is around 12%.
 
“Usdaw’s survey of young workers shows that more than half of under-25s are not confident that their main job will provide the income that they need over the next 12 months. These money worries are often caused by young workers having similar costs of living as those aged over 25 but with significantly less income.
 
“Usdaw believes that young workers should be encouraged to enter and progress in the world of work, but this will not be achieved by using them as cheap labour.  Rather than promoting age related pay, the Government should be making a commitment to promote youth employment with positive initiatives, such as careers advice in schools and colleges, improvements to vocational training and the promotion of good quality apprenticeship schemes.
 
“Youth rates of pay are not acceptable and it is clear they can cause real hardship for young workers and their families. It is time the Government changed the law by backing this Bill.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with around 435,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% over the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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