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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 September 2008

Young workers ripped off

A recent TUC report has exposed massive exploitation of young apprentices by unscrupulous employers, with the blessing of the New Labour government and the Low Pay Commission.

Jake Moore

An estimated 70% of apprentices who are learning skills in trades as diverse as construction, health care and retail are exempt from the already criminally low minimum wage rates. Apprentices under the age of 19, and older apprentices in their first year of training are entitled to a minimum weekly wage of just 80 per week. This falls to 50 a week in Wales, and a meagre 40 in Northern Ireland.

The TUC report estimates that in low-paid sectors, apprentice drop-out rates are as high as four out of ten. Furthermore, 5% of apprentices are still receiving less than the 80 per week minimum, and in some sectors, such as retail and customer services, apprentices reported receiving no wage at all!

Apprentices are the lifeblood of industry, helping replenish skilled positions as older workers retire or others leave their prospective trades. However, is it any wonder drop-out rates are so high when you consider the poverty pay and exploitation many apprentices encounter?

Bosses make their super-profits by exploiting workers' labour, but without a skilled workforce their profits would soon dry up. Construction union UCATT estimates that the construction industry requires 87,000 new recruits each year - without apprentices the industry would soon collapse - it is time apprentices are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

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In The Socialist 10 September 2008:

Housing Crisis: Brown has no answers


War and occupation

End the wars and occupations

USA: Defying police, students walk out against the Republican national convention


Socialist Party editorial

US mortgage bank nationalisation - sign of deepening crisis


Scotland

Scotland council tax to be scrapped

Scotland: Council pay battle at critical stage


Socialist Party workplace news

Workers' anger surfaces at TUC

London bus workers inspired by strike

Fighting for decent pensions

In brief


Socialism 2008

Come to Socialism 2008!


Socialist Party campaigns

May Day detainees fight for justice

No to post office closures

Boom to bust in Cardiff Bay

Fans pay for the success of the 'beautiful game'

Protest against harassment!


Socialist Students

Fighting start to freshers fairs

Young workers ripped off

Bangor University students union fees referendum


Environment and socialism

Can we have 'the right to travel' - without adding to climate change?


Socialist Party review

Richard Dawkins: The genius of Charles Darwin, (Channel 4)


International socialist news and analysis

Thailand in grip of political deadlock


 

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