Monday 16-03-2015 - 17:21
NUS Scotland has today welcomed a call from the Scottish Government for the UK government to raise the minimum wage for apprentices into line with that for the rest of the workforce.
Currently, the apprentice minimum wage is just £2.73 per hour for those aged 16-18 and older apprentices in their first year, and £5.13 per hour for those aged 18-20. However, as figures released previously have shown, 13% of all level 2 and level 3 apprentices in Scotland were paid below the national minimum wage for their age in 2014.
Ahead of May’s general election, NUS Scotland is calling for the end of low and exploitation of apprentices pay, and for the UK parliament to implement the equalisation of the national minimum wage so all workers, including apprentices and regardless of age, receive the same rate.
Commenting on the Scottish Government’s announcement, Robert Foster, NUS Scotland Vice President Education, said:
“It’s great to see the Scottish Government stand up for apprentices, and make a clear call for greater fairness in the pay they receive. The pay levels that apprentices currently receive means they continue to go underpaid and undervalued. The fact that they are forced to accept such pay levels, while in the pursuit of training and employment, is then nothing short of exploitative and insulting.
“The last few years in Scotland have rightly seen a renewed focus about how we increase the esteem that vocational education is held in, and strong action to achieve that. However, as long as apprentices face such shockingly low levels of pay for the work they do, too many of our young people may be forced out of an apprenticeship due to the poverty pay they’ll face, or be put off from taking one up altogether. Every worker should be receiving a fair day’s pay for a day’s work. That’s no different for a young person who chooses to go through an apprenticeship, and it’s simply unacceptable that we would then reward them with anything less than the standard minimum wage.
“Today’s call from the Scottish Government is to be welcomed, and one that the UK government needs to listen to and act on. Ahead of the General Election, we’ll continue working with the National Society of Apprentices in Scotland to see all parties to commit to raising the minimum wage for apprentices across the UK and put an end, once and for all, to the unfair and unequal pay they face.”