Wednesday at the TUC

17 September 2015

Dave Calfe, speaking from the podium on Wednesday morning, made a passionate case for the government to act to alleviate the plight of young people in Britain.

He said: ‘The living standards of young workers have been hit hardest by austerity. Young workers still receive a lower rate of minimum wage, at £3.87 per hour for under 18s, which is under half of the Brighton living wage of £7.85, and even when Osborne’s so-called“living wage” comes in, it will only be for those aged 25 and over.

‘With the spread of zero hours contracts the wages of those aged 22 to 29has seen a fall of 12.5% between 2009 and 2014. Apprenticeship starts for the under 19s have increased by a mere 3% since 2010. Four in ten of all apprenticeships have actually been taken by those aged 25 and over!

‘University grants for the poorest in our society have been scrapped, so those who are not put off university education are starting their working lives with huge debts. Not to mention the effect of tripling tuition fees in the last parliament.

‘When many of us left school, finding work may not have been easy, but it was there, and many of those jobs had guaranteed hours, sick pay,holiday pay and a final salary pension. If young people can find work today it is minimum wage, on zero hours contracts, with no chance of a final salary pension and generally not unionised.

‘When I left school at 16, and worked at Middlesex Poly on the ground staff, workers coming up to retirement told me I would be paying their pension in retirement; today those of retirement age who continue to work are paying the benefits of the young who cannot find reasonably paid work. The workplace has been turned upside down!’

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