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Local Government Service Group Conference Liverpool 18-21 June 2013

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Campaign for living wage and real jobs for modern apprentices

Scott Donohoe
Scott Donohoe
Susan Kennedy
Susan Kennedy
Chris Stephen
Chris Stephen
Colin Turbett
Colin Turbett
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”, said Colin.

He congratulated South Lanarkshire who are paying a living wage.






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