By Paddy Meehan, Socialist Youth Regional Organiser
Workers aged between 16 and 17 are legally being paid £3.40 an hour! As the cost of living continues to soar, workers on the minimum wage face a pay cut this year.
The government’s official statistics put the rise in the cost of living at around 4.3% while in October the minimum wage will go up by only 3.8%, making it an effective pay cut. How do they expect ordinary young workers to survive?
Some restaurant bosses, instead of even paying the pathetic minimum wage, are using a legal loophole to pay waiters below the minimum wage by using tips to top up their wages. This despicable practice has been exposed by trade unions which has forced the government to make some minor concessions. But because the minimum wage legislation is not being rigorously enforced, many employers continue to ignore the rules on the minimum wage. If the trade union movement were to launch a determined campaign to take on these miserly bosses much more could be won.
As the winds of recession chill the economy, bosses will seek to protect their profit margins by attacking workers’ wages, terms and conditions. Young workers in particular will be hit hard. As they have fewer rights, bosses will look to make young workers pay for the economic crisis. That is why young workers need to get organised to defend their wages and conditions.
Socialist Youth is campaigning to highlight the scandalous treatment of young workers in the workplace and to take action to force employers to raise wages and recognise young workers’ rights. In March, Socialist Youth took part in supporting a young migrant worker in Delaney’s restaurant in Belfast who was sacked for wearing a jacket at work. After a number of well attended pickets of the restaurant, she won back pay and was offered her job back. This shows that bosses can be forced to back off and young workers can win victories.
Ripped-off? Get in touch
If you are low paid, ripped-off by your boss or feel you are not being treated properly at work, then contact Socialist Youth to discuss in confidence how to expose your employer.
You can also get involved with other young people in helping to campaign against low pay and fighting for young workers’ rights.
Contact Socialist Youth at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 07876146473.