Fury at £10-a-day wage
Published 12 Apr 2012 12:30 0 Comments
HUNDREDS of young apprentices from Dumbarton and the Vale will earn the equivalent of just £10 a day if they land a council job.
The Reporter can reveal that of 250 new local authority jobs being created for 16 to 24-year-olds in the area, only 50 will earn more than £2.65 an hour.
Earlier this year, council chiefs championed a "bold and ambitious" budget for 2012/13 which they said would create up to 500 new jobs in an area regarded as an unemployment black spot.
Around £2.83million will be spent on a scheme to create 250 jobs among local small businesses and the voluntary sector, with a further 250 created as part of the Council's Modern Apprentice programme.
But last week, critics of the programme said chosen apprentices would almost be better off on the dole.
SSP councillor Jim Bollan described the hourly rate as a "derisory poverty wage".
He told the Reporter: "Effectively these young people will be working for £10 a day on top of their JSA of £57.
"Creating more poverty is the last thing West Dunbartonshire needs. These youngsters should be paid at least around £6.20 per hour which the other 50 apprentices will receive.
"Two months ago the council held this project up as their flagship employment policy, as the details emerge of their scheme it is clear this is just another wheeze to manipulate unemployment figures which will push more youngsters into poverty with no prospect of a real job at the end of their nine-month training period.
"I hope this matter will be re-visited by the council, to ensure all our youngsters who are successful in their applications are treated fairly and equally."
Last month the Reporter revealed West Dunbartonshire was the worst place in the UK to find a job.
According to figures released by the TUC there are 31 people chasing every job in the area while second place Middlesbrough was well behind with just 24 people chasing each job.
But a WDC spokeswoman hit back and said the new apprenticeships remain a positive move.
She said: "The difficult economic climate means there are fewer opportunities for young people than in previous years. In response the council has committed to providing 200 Level 2 apprenticeships that give young people employment for around nine months.
"Successful applicants will earn a higher wage than the National Minimum wage for apprentices, receive more money than if they remained on Job Seekers Allowance, and of much greater importance will gain experience and a qualification in their chosen occupation.
"This puts them in a strong position for future vacancies with the council, an organisation that remains the largest employer in West Dunbartonshire."
This article appeared in Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter 12 Apr 12
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