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New three tier minimum wage is “discriminatory to young people”

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Patricia Hewitt MP

Patricia Hewitt, Trade and Industry Secretary has announced that 16 and 17 year-olds will, for the first time, be brought under the protection of the National Minimum Wage from 1 October 2004, with a new £3 minimum hourly rate.

The Government has also accepted recommendations from the Low Pay Commission to increase the National Minimum Wage rate given to 18-21 year-olds from £3.80 to £4.10 per hour and to increase the rate given to workers aged 22 and above from £4.50 to £4.85 per hour. Both are effective from 1 October 2004.

However, General Secretary Kevin Curran of GMB, Britain’s General Union, said: “Creating a three tier minimum wage system is confusing, complicated and discriminatory to people 21 and under who do the same jobs as those over 21 but are getting 75p to £1.85 less an hour.”

Curran said that creating three tiers based purely on age legitimises age discrimination by allowing companies to pay employees that do the same job different wages based purely on age.

“The GMB believes that employers should pay the rate for the job and not the age of the worker. Employers and workers will not understand this confusing system and it will lead to abuse and problems with enforcement,” he warned.

One Response

  1. What about apprentices?
    Has Patricia Hewitt had any entertaining discussions with Education Secretary Charles Clarke about the impact that this could have for Government Supported Training?

    Will Modern Appretices remain ineligible for NMW in their first year?

    If not, is this a cunning ploy to improve retention and achievement on Governemnt Supported Training plans by reducing the number of apprentices who start in the first place?

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