Apprentices in the South
Don't pay FAS fees
This government is showing its contempt for working class youth by the introduction of fees for FAS apprentices. Since the new year, FAS apprentices serving the fourth and sixth phases of their course will be expected to pay fees of 223 euro in order to begin training.
By Stephen Rigney
In the past year, the FF/PD coalition has launched a major attack on what it sees as some of the weaker sections of society, young workers and students. This offensive has already seen the attempted re-introduction of college fees and a defeated FAS policy trying to reduce training allowances for apprentices. It's no surprise that it is primarily working class youth that attend FAS courses and who will be hit hardest by this new policy.
While many have raised the idea of a "No Say, No Pay" campaign, this platform does not address the fact that many apprentices cannot afford to pay these fees. With exemption from entitlement to minimum wage, regardless of age, with little or no grants available, maltreatment by employers and without proper access to trade unions, most apprentices are in no financial position to pay these fees. It is also quite apparent that these fees will like the bin tax increase from year to year.
If this introduction of training fees is to be defeated, it is imperative that this policy does not gain a foothold and the apprentices must stand firm with an organised campaign of non-payment. The unions must also put their full weight behind the apprentices' struggle, demanding not just that these fees are withdrawn but also that apprentices receive at least, the minimum wage and union rights.
* A non-payment of fees campaign by apprentices
* The abolition of all education fees, in colleges and FAS courses
* Full union rights for all apprentices and young workers
* An entitlement to a minimum wage for all workers and apprentices, regardless of age