Trades unions have fought for some of the most important rights in our country – from weekends off to health and safety standards to the minimum wage. But only 9% of 16-24 year olds are union members, according to the Trades Union Congress.
That’s why Young Workers Month, held in November each year by the TUC, is so important for raising awareness of and engagement between young people and trade unions.
On average, workers who are members of a union earn 40% more than those who aren’t. Around half of workers on zero-hours contracts are under 30, and it’s trade unions who are leading the fight for them to have guaranteed hours each week.
The government’s “National Living Wage” – which is already well below the £8.45 rate recommended by the Living Wage Foundation – is only available to employees over 25. That means younger workers get 25p an hour less than some others doing the exact same work.
It’s my belief, and the Labour Party’s belief, that a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. Young workers need a wage they can live on, rather than age discrimination from a government which has hit them hard.
Trade union membership is as important to workers now as much as ever, especially the young. Plenty of unions have discounted membership rates for young members, those working part time, apprentices or students. Taking part in Young Workers Month is a great way to get involved with trade unions and your rights at work.
You can find out more about Young Workers Month through the TUC’s website.