Local government apprenticeships – same work, sub-par pay

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2019 Local Government Service Group Conference
22 February 2019
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that apprenticeships are increasingly the way that young people in the UK enter local government as a profession, providing a structured way to recruit those fresh into the workforce by combining part-time education with the work they’ll be doing once the apprenticeship is completed.

Conference further notes however that, while some local authorities in the UK pay more than the un-liveable national minimum wage for apprentices, pay disparity between local government apprentices and their colleagues remains rife, with apprentices typically on lower pay rates than non-apprentice new starters doing the exact same work and of similar experience. This is why UNISON’s Apprenticeship Charter includes a commitment to paying the rate for the job.

Conference acknowledges that we can’t begin to raise the profile of apprentices in local government and the vital work that they are increasingly asked to do without fighting for equal remuneration for that work.

Conference therefore requests that the local government service group executive:

1)Collect from regions and branches information on which local government roles apprentices are placed in and the discrepancy between entry-level apprentice and non-apprentice job grades in that role.

2)Publish and circulate the resulting findings as a report into pay disparity to relevant bodies and policy makers, aiming to widely educate about this continued issue.

3)Continue to publicise UNISON’s Apprenticeship Charter and encourage branches to make its adoption a bargaining objective with employers

4)Campaign for the removal of apprentice-only rates of pay in future pay award bargaining, to instead put apprentices on the starting rate of the grade that work would otherwise be awarded.

5)Publicise the UNSION membership options available to young members who are local government apprentices and continue the campaign to end discrimination in the national living wage apprenticeship rate.