Connect trade union says it has called on the Government to immediately end the exclusion of apprentices from a statutory right to be paid the minimum wage of €10.50 per hour due to poverty wages increasingly forcing workers out of a career in the crafts.
Connect Assistant General Secretary, Brian Nolan, said: “Young workers are being forced to give up apprenticeships in the trades due to being paid in many cases considerably below the minimum wage.
“Our Union is calling for the amendment of the National Minimum Wage Act 2000 to end the exclusion of workers registered in the statutory apprentice system.
“The current situation is forcing many full-time workers who are registered within the statutory apprentice system into poverty and is acting as a deterrent to young people beginning a career in the crafts.”
Connect General Secretary, Paddy Kavanagh, said: “Connect is committed to a campaign on this issue by a vote at our recent Biennial Delegate Conference.
“At the Conference a number of delegates spoke out against the payment of apprentices at rates below the minimum wage and the great hardship this is causing to many young workers.
“This situation is not only having an immediate impact on workers who are struggling in the face of a worsening cost of living and housing crisis but will also result in long-term damage to our economy if we do not maintain apprenticeships as a viable option.
Individual companies cannot make this move on their own, we need Government action to guarantee an end to this situation and ensure all workers receive at least the minimum wage.”