Soutiam Goodarzi

Corbyn’s half-baked plan to raise the minimum wage for under 18s

My fellow sixteen year olds can’t vote, but that doesn’t stop us being the target of Jeremy Corbyn’s magnanimity. His latest idea: to make sure we are paid the same as adults. So he proposes raising the minimum wage for everyone, including those under the age of 18, to £10 an hour.

You can see the superficial appeal. Gone are the days of £5 an hour work. Thanks to Corbyn, a £20 top will take two hours of work to buy, as opposed to four. Which 16 or 17 year old could complain at that?

But in reality, the idea isn’t so good. When applying for work, we’re not just competing with other 16 or 17 year olds but with middle-aged men and women who have an array of life experiences making them far better suited to most jobs. We need more training, we are more likely to mess up, are less flexible thanks to school or college. We also need more time to adjust to our work environments and are far more likely to leave the company sooner. Our only weapon is the fact that we can legally accept lower pay.

So that £20 top? Well you can’t really buy it because you won’t have a job.

My first ever paid job was in a clothing store in Leeds, for eight hours a week. I wouldn’t have ever got that job if I demanded the same pay as older applicants. I could only work after 6 pm (or on weekends), knew nothing about customer service and had to pester customers about opening credit card accounts I couldn’t even have because I was underage.

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