Time to legislate for fair wages for apprentices

Senator Mark Wall
21 March 2023
  • Apprenticeships key to unlocking housing crisis solutions

Labour Senator Mark Wall has demanded government legislate for people undertaking apprenticeships to have access to the minimum wage.

As the housing disaster continues to put vulnerable people at risk, Senator Wall said Government has the power to encourage more workers into trades by offering them fair pay.

Senator Wall said:

“We are deeply concerned at the Government’s callous decision to lift the eviction ban in 10 days’ time. The reality is, the housing disaster will still be in place at the end of March. Emergency times demand emergency measures.

“Labour will fight Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil on the eviction ban, but we need a plan of action to address the fundamental problems in housing. Apprentices are crucial to this. We need to encourage young people into apprenticeships like building to address the labour shortages that are holding back the building of homes.

“From talking to contractors, they are finding it almost impossible to retain apprentices and this is confirmed by Connect Trade Union who have said that excluding apprentices from being paid the minimum wage is forcing young workers out of the crafts.

“Labour are calling on government to drop the exemption from paying apprentices the minimum wage once and for all. Paying anyone below the minimum wage for a day’s work in this country is simply unacceptable. In the context of persistent labour shortages in the building sector, it’s time for some outside the box thinking.

“We have record levels of homelessness, families stretched beyond their means just to keep a roof over their head, young people leaving our shores once again, and now, the Government is putting vulnerable renters into deep uncertainty and insecurity.

“Labour will demand the extension of the eviction ban and continue to push Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to wake up to the reasons we have the housing disaster that we do. Investing in our apprentices could unlock a long-term solution to the labour shortages that are causing delays in delivering homes.”

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