Low Pay for Young People - Tesco Boss gets 3.2 million

By Gary Mulcahy Socialist Voice June 2003

The Independent recently published the salaries that Britain's top 100 companies pay their chief executives. This stuff should come with a health warning - it makes sickening reading.

The next time you enter your local Tesco, take time out and think of its chief executive Sir Terry Leahy.

Sir Terry received a whopping 3.2 million last year. Not bad! In the article, Tesco were praised for being a good payer - for the bosses that is. For workers on the checkouts struggling to get by, it's a different story. For a young worker who's lucky enough to get the minimum wage, they would have to work 427 years before matching what Sir Terry receives in one year!

The minimum wage is currently 4.20 per hour for workers aged 22 and over, 3.60 per hour for those aged between 18 and 21 and for under 18s there is no minimum wage.

Young workers are clearly discriminated against. Greedy bosses have used this loophole in the minimum wage legislation to get rid of older workers when they've reached their 'expiry age' of 18 or 22. Instead of paying what is already a pathetic minimum wage, the current legislation allows employers to pay absolute slave wages to workers under 18 years.

Socialist Youth have already been on the streets campaigning against low pay, in particular young workers being exploited. Cases of people getting paid 2 an hour were not uncommon.

This summer we will be taking to the streets again to gather support for our demand of a 6 minimum wage for all workers and the scrapping of all youth exemptions in the minimum wage legislation.

We will also be 'Naming & Shaming' local employers in Northern Ireland who are paying poverty wages to young workers. Those bosses paying the lowest wages will be picketed and pressure applied to increase the wages.

As well as exposing low pay employers, we will also be campaigning for the right of young people to join trade unions to defend their rights and improve their conditions.

If you are a young low paid worker, then get in touch with Socialist Youth today and join our campaign.

For other articles on the Low Pay Campaign visit the sitemap.
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