Labour Youth call for an end to employment discrimination for young people

Labour Youth
17 August 2023
  • Subminimum wages are exploitative

Labour Youth is demanding that all workers, irrespective of their age, have access to the National Minimum Wage.

Chairperson of Labour Youth, Lhamo Fitzsimons, said workers under 20 may be paid as low as €7.91 and too many employers are exploiting young people as cheap labour.

Fitzsimons said:

“It is hard to believe that in the 21st century, in 2023, and at a time in which costs have been rising in all areas from food, clothes, utilities, to basic goods, and unaffordable rents, that at this very moment there are workers in Ireland still not entitled to receive minimum wage.

“Young workers aged under 20 may be paid as low as €7.91. Despite being legal adults, those aged 17-19 are only entitled to 80% of minimum wage at €9.04.

“The result is clear exploitation. These are teens and adults who may be working full or part time, to pay for to access education, to save, or to support themselves or their families. There is a fundamental equality issue here.

“Young workers’ rights are too often exploited by some employers. Young workers are used and abused by from employer. They tend to work extreme and anti-social hours, with little to no breaks, and under the constant threat of being fired, often bullied in the workplace. These attitudes and behaviours of some employers are reinforced by the current system of sub-minimum rates of pay.

“It’s existence is a stain upon our State. Simply put, sub-minimum rates of pay are not acceptable nor do they serve a purpose other than to exploit those who do not have the resources, power or confidence to have their voices heard.

“Workers performing the exact same work and hours should not be treated differently based on their age.

“There are young adults and teens struggling to pay for food, rent, transport and sometimes even going hungry and left to depend on student emergency funds, food banks or charities. These are young adults trying to support and contribute to their families during times of runaway inflation and a housing crisis.

“Most of us have experienced working for under minimum wage as a young worker or know someone affected by it. It’s time to abolish sub-minimum rates of pay. That’s why we in Labour Youth have started our campaign to end sub-minimum rates of pay. We call upon the government to end this blatant age based discrimination and for An Equal Day Of Labour For An Equal Day of Pay.”

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