The best way to improve conditions for modern apprentices
is to recruit them into the union, Conference was told
as it called for a living wage and assured permanent jobs
when apprenticeships finish.
UNISON will monitor the employment practices of Local
Authorities and other employers who employ Modern Apprentices
and other apprenticeships.
Moving UNISON Scotland’s motion, Scott Donohoe
called for pressure on the Scottish Government to invest
more resources for councils to provide proper schemes
and “'End the exploitation of our young workers'.”
Aberdeenshire’s Susan Kennedy backed the call
and moved a Service Group Executive amendment calling
for work with FE colleges to quality training to national
standards for apprentices to avoid exploitation by ‘unscrupulous’
employers or training organisations.
She reminded delegates: “The minimum wage level
for apprentices is currently only £2.65. This
is disgracefully low, and we need to tell this government
and the employers that if they value the work that apprentices
do, now and in the future, they must pay them a proper
wage, a 'living wage'.”
Turning to the need to recruit these workers into the
union, she said: “Apprentices and modern apprentices
should form a major part of our union’s future.”
And Chris Stephens from Glasgow gave a graphic example
of the importance of recruitment.
When the council said there were no jobs for six Commonwealth
apprentices at the end of their apprenticeship, the
union highlighted there were 32 clerical vacancies alone.
UNISON mounted a major campaign after which two found
work in the private sector and four got permanent employment
with the council.
“Only trade union membership delivered that.
Only the benefits and the resources of a trade union
delivered that”, said Chris.
Colin Turbett’s North Ayrshire branch mounted
a great campaign to get the living wage for apprentices
but the council stuck to the £2.65 an hour. “This
was on the basis that the two neighbouring authorities
in Ayrshire were doing the same. That’s why we
need all branches to be involved in this campaign”,
He congratulated South Lanarkshire who are paying a