Category Archives: workers rights

The human cost of an iPad

By John Sharpe, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)

Twelve workers have committed suicide so far this year at the factory that makes Apple iPads. Four others survived, gravely injured, and 20 were stopped from killing themselves by the company. All the dead were between 18 and 24 years old.
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Come to the Socialist Youth Summer Festival

SY Summer Festival Brochure

SY Summer Festival Brochure

Friday 22nd August – Sunday 24th August

Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow

All Welcome

Cost: €65/£50 (Cost includes accomodation, food and travel)

To download the brochure please click here.

If you would like to book your place please send your name, address, phone, e-mail and any special food requirements you may need to:

Socialist Youth Dublin
P.O. Box 3434, Dublin 8

Socialist Youth Belfast
13 Lombard St

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Low pay, No rights, bullying bosses – Young workers ripped off

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 or ring 07876146473.

Fight bosses intimidation

The Socialist spoke to a young worker who contacted Socialist Youth looking for advice on how to stop intimidation at work.

“My workplace is located outside Toomebridge in County Antrim. We are being threatened by our boss with the sack if we refuse to work overtime. I don’t feel comfortable working there. It isn’t a healthy working environment when you are constantly under threat of losing your job if you don’t work overtime.

“The company has already made an ‘example’ out of some immigrant workers. A number of Polish lads were sacked because they could not work overtime. Now a Slovakian girl has been threatened she’ll be next if she won’t work on Saturdays, even though she expressly told the boss she can’t.” The company in question boasts that it has been awarded an ‘Investor in People’ award which supposedly ensures a ‘good working environment’.

“Attempts were made a few years back to unionise the workforce. But because of the intimidation, people felt too scared they would lose their jobs and it didn’t work.”

Socialist Youth is to investigate this employer with a view to exposing this intimidation and illegal practice.

If you have an issue at work and think something should be done about it, e-mail Socialist Youth at or ring 028 90232962.

Electrical Apprentice speaks to Socialist Youth

FEARGAL De BUitleir spoke to Conor, an apprentice electrician from Dublin about the situation facing many young workers today


“I STARTED my apprenticeship in 2002 when I was 17. I’ve worked for three companies. The first company didn’t provide much training, and they had a practice of letting a load of apprentices go with the excuse that there was no work. Usually just before they got out of college. About two weeks later they take on more lads. At the time I quit the company, they let ten guys go and hired five others a few weeks later.


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SY Belfast – End Low Pay

End Low Pay


£8 minimum wage NOW
Abolish the youth
End bullying, intimidation and poor working conditions
Trade union rights for all young workers

 As the cost of living goes through the roof the proposed increase for the minimum wage in October is nowhere near what is needed. How is anyone expected to live off this poverty wage?

Download the Socialist Youth Leaflet here.

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North: Fight for young workers’ rights

Philip Lynn

For the majority of young people in Northern Ireland life is getting more difficult rather than easier.

Despite forecasts in the past of a ‘peace dividend’, ordinary working class people and youth have seen little improvement in their daily lives, in fact the Assembly Executive’s policies are set to make things worse.

Unemployment is becoming an increasingly likely prospect for many young people. For 18-24 year olds, the rate of unemployment has increased by 4% to 11% in the last year alone. This adds to the difficulties facing young workers who often earn low levels of pay based on a discriminatory minimum wage. Last year saw a 3% rise in the minimum wage for workers aged 22 or over, bringing it to £5.52 despite an 11 year high of over 4% in the Retail Price Index of inflation. For younger workers, the minimum wage is even more appalling. The rate for 18- 21 year olds is now £4.60 and the rate for 16 and 17 year olds has increased up by 10p to £3.40.

What makes these levels of poverty pay and unemployment even more unbearable is the Assembly’s pro-big business agenda – cuts in the health service, funnelling public money into private pockets through PFI and PPP projects, privatising our water service, which will cause a huge rise in water bills and will add to the precarious situation facing many young workers.

For many students, the situation is the same: desperate. Increasing living costs combined with tuition fees of over £3,000 a year are either leaving students in crippling amounts of debt or are forcing them out of universities altogether.

Despite the Assembly flirting with the idea of a Scottish-style education system (which, contrary to popular belief, still leaves many students under a mountain of debt) no commitments have been made to offer students what they need – free education and a living grant for all.

These shortcomings are not mistakes on the Assembly’s part. Rather they are part of a conscious policy to put the interests of big business in front of the interests of workers and young people.

Socialist Youth believes that now, perhaps more than ever, it is necessary to organise a fightback against the neo- liberal attacks being made on workers and young people.

We are an active campaigning organisation, which fights against all forms of discrimination, sectarianism and exploitation and for a democratically run socialist alternative to the neo-liberal attacks of the Assembly parties.

Get involved: Join the fightback today! Join Socialist Youth