Young Workers

Petition – in the House of Commons at 7:31 pm on 14th March 2007.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Labour, Hayes and Harlington

I wish to present a petition collected by young members of the Public and Commercial Services Union who work for the civil service. The petitioners strongly object to the discrimination on the ground of age against young workers under 22 that currently exists in the United Kingdom. They receive less pay per hour for exactly the same work as their co-workers simply because of their age. Young people pay the same for basic expenses such as food, utilities and rent as other workers, and they do not work more slowly or less competently simply because of their age. Ability to do a job comes from experience and training, not from growing older. Age-related wages can effectively price older workers out of the market, but young workers on modern apprenticeship schemes often have no minimum wage protection whatsoever. The petition states:

The petitioners therefore...urge the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to raise the rate of the National Minimum Wage for young workers to that for workers aged 22 and over.

To lie upon the Table.

J

I would agree with this proposal if and only if people over 25 were allowed into the Modern Apprenticeship programmes. Mr McDonnell says that young people have no choice in what they are paid. Either do older workers. The older workers he refers to who migth be "priced out of the market" cannot always find new jobs even at the low rates of under 22 year olds. Of the 6,000 Rover workers made redundant two years ago, 80% were over 40 and 11% took early retirement or went onto incapacity benefit (probably unnecessarily). A significant 23% have still not found jobs. 41% retrained with financial assistance. 20% of workers are now earning the equivalaent of hte minimum wage, a...

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