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Workplace Rights (Young People)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 11th December 2019.

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Photo of Ross Greer Ross Greer Green

9. To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to ensure that young people are properly equipped to protect their workplace rights. (S5O-03915)

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

Learning about the world of work forms a key part of the school curriculum, and employment rights are an important part of career education for young people at school, particularly in their senior phase.

We support the Scottish Trades Union Congress programme, unions into schools, which helps young people understand the importance of workers’ rights and the role that is played by trade unions in the modern workplace. The programme has delivered 125 classroom sessions since March 2019.

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 workplace rights.

Photo of Ross Greer Ross Greer Green

The cabinet secretary is right to credit the STUC for the excellent work that its unions into schools programme does. However, it reaches only a small number of schools and a small fraction of school students in Scotland.

With zero-hours contracts on the rise, poverty wages and bogus self-employment, will the cabinet secretary commit to ensuring that all young people in Scotland, before they leave school, learn about not just employability skills, but their rights at work as well?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

As I indicated in my first answer to Ross Greer, those issues about the world of work in relation to employment rights are an important part of career education, which we believe is an entitlement of young people through the broad general education and into the senior phase. Outwith the specific and targeted work of the unions into schools programme that the STUC provides—and which we support—there is every opportunity in the curriculum for young people to understand those issues. I am very happy to reflect on those issues and on how we can make sure that more and more young people are aware of those questions in the school curriculum.