Article from the Nov 2004 edition, the Socialist

Socialist Youth take on Scrooge bosses

By Daniel Waldron Belfast Socialist Youth

FROM THE start of October the minimum wage for over 21's was increased to 4.85/hour, with the minimum rate for 18-21 year-olds now being set at 4.10/hour. For 16 to 18 year olds the rate is 3/ hour.

While Socialist Youth welcomes every increase, the reality is that these paltry rates allow employers to get away with paying their workers poverty wages. A young full-time worker on minimum wage could expect to take home as little as 120 per week! Even for those over 21 years of age, the minimum wage will mean a weekly income of less than 200. This simply isn't enough to live on, especially with the extortionate prices we pay for electricity, heating, food and many other vital resources in Northern Ireland.

Bosses, on the other hand, believe that the minimum wage is too high, claiming that a rise of over 7% would cut profits and damage enterprise. However, last year Chief Executives awarded themselves an average pay rise of 12.8%, bringing their average annual salary to 1.7 million!

Socialist Youth is calling for the minimum wage to be immediately increased to 6/hour with the scrapping of all youth exemptions, as a step towards the EU Decency Threshold which is now around 8/hour.

In the run-up to Christmas, Socialist Youth is launching its annual "Scrooge of the Year" campaign. Previous winners include George Bain, who opposed a minimum wage for young people and a decent salary for firefighters, and Martin McGuinness, who opposed year-round pay for term-time workers in schools.

To nominate your employer for Scrooge of the Year! Call us on (028) 90232962

or e-mail

socialist_youth@hotmail.com today!



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