This week is Living Wage Week, and a good opportunity to highlight some of the difficulties facing low-paid workers, particularly young people. Workers under 25 are only entitled to a paltry £7.38 per hour, well below even the £7.83 standard National Living Wage, which is still considered inadequate by the Living Wage Foundation. They set the current real Living Wage at £9 per hour, a rate signed up to by over 4,700 employers nationwide.
This is despite the fact that young workers between the ages of 16 and 24 make up more than one in three zero-hours contracts, often offering only irregular income and a lack of financial stability.
According to research by the TUC, in the last five years, 28 per cent of young workers have had shifts offered to them with less than 24 hours’ notice and 14 per cent of young workers have had work cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice.
This state of affairs isn’t acceptable, and that’s why Labour has pledged a £10 per hour minimum wage to help five million young and underpaid people – being under 25 doesn’t make your living expenses any lower or your work less valuable than those just a few years older. I’d also encourage young workers to consider joining a union that can help them fight for their rights at work – you can find the right one for you here: https://www.tuc.org.uk/find-union-you