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Young People’s Employment Rights (Awareness)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 14th November 2019.

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Photo of David Torrance David Torrance Scottish National Party

4. To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to raise awareness among young people of their employment rights. (S5O-03764)

Photo of Kate Forbes Kate Forbes Scottish National Party

Increasing understanding about employment rights and responsibilities is key to creating fairer workplaces.

Learning about the world of work forms a key part of the school curriculum and employment rights are a key part of career education for young people at school, particularly in their senior phase. We support the Scottish Trades Union Congress unions into schools programme, which helps young people to understand the importance of workers’ rights and the role played by trade unions in the modern workplace.

Bodies such as the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, Citizens Advice Scotland and trade unions can play an important role in advising young people on their rights at work.

Photo of David Torrance David Torrance Scottish National Party

Citizens Advice Scotland’s do the right thing campaign is currently raising awareness among young people of their rights at work. CAS has found that one in 10 young people does not know that the minimum wage is a legal requirement and it sees numerous cases of young people being taken advantage of at work. The charity is also collecting examples online of poor employment practice to better understand the issues that young people face at work. Will the minister therefore encourage young people to submit any bad work experiences anonymously to CAS so that it can continue to campaign for a fair deal at work for young people?

Photo of Kate Forbes Kate Forbes Scottish National Party

I agree with David Torrance that it is an important campaign. I encourage young people to submit to the campaign any examples of where they feel that they have not been treated fairly at work, and to raise them with Citizens Advice Scotland, trade unions or ACAS, which has a statutory role to provide advice on employment matters. The campaign is important, and it is important that young people know their rights at work, and where to go for advice.

Photo of Neil Findlay Neil Findlay Labour

Will the minister join me in giving her 100 per cent support to the McStrikers—the McDonald’s workers who have this week walked out in protest at low pay and poor employment practices in one of the world’s most profitable companies? Does the minister agree that a £10-an-hour living wage and a revolution in employment rights, as promised by the Labour manifesto, would be the best present that young workers could receive this year?

Photo of Kate Forbes Kate Forbes Scottish National Party

On the strikes and the points that Neil Findlay raised, I would support any individual who raises concerns about poor practice, particularly when their employers have a duty to ensure fair working practices. I would be happy to pass on Neil Findlay’s question to the Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn.

On ensuring that workers across the country have a fair wage and fair practices, it is the SNP Government that has introduced—within the powers that we have—the fair employment practices that we see in this country.

The Presiding Officer:

Although members may raise any question that they wish to, I remind them to try to keep direct political election campaigning out of their question or answer.

The Presiding Officer:

Yes, Mr Lyle.

Question 5 has not been lodged.