Why are we not equal?

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I was talking to a friend of mine about wages this week, and we were discussing how absurd it is that someone is paid less because of their age.

The current rates for minimum wage as of October 1, 2016 are as follows:

  • 25 and over: £7.20
  • 21 to 24: £6.95
  • 18 to 20: £5.55
  • Under 18: £4.00
  • Apprentice: £3.40

The National Minimum Wage rate changes every October, and the National Living Wage rates change every April.

But, let’s think about this for a second. At age 19, I gave birth to my beautiful little girl. Thankfully, I wasn’t on minimum wage at the time, but what if I had been? How is £5.55 per hour even close to enough, to be able to support your family and rent your own home?

19-year-old me with Esme, 6 days old.

19-year-old me with Esme, 6 days old.

I don’t see how it is even justifiable to pay somebody less just because of their age, regardless of whether they’re doing just as good a job as the person sitting next to them, completing the same tasks.

If you start your job at 18 on minimum wage, and you’ve been there for two years, then isn’t it a bit insulting to not be paid the same as the new recruit, who is 25-years-old and getting paid more just because they’re older?

This minimum wage does not take into account that many people at age 18 wish to live on their own, and rent their own accommodation. To be able to afford to rent a flat on minimum wage at that age, would be almost impossible. You’d have no time to yourself from working so many hours, and no extra money to be able to spend on luxuries.

You could be doing a better than job than anybody around you, but not being able to get a pay rise or be paid the same as everybody else until you reach a certain age. How is this fair?

And just because you’ve gone from age 20 to 21, or 24 to 25, does that mean you’re doing your job better now than when you were younger? No, it doesn’t. So why does our wages not reflect this?

The cost of living in Wales is generally below average for the rest of the UK. Wales’ accommodation, travel, food, entertainment, shopping and services are all below the average cost, but this doesn’t mean that we, in Wales, can afford any of it or are better off, because our wages correlate exactly the same as they do with people living in London, competing with the extremely high house prices and day to day living.

If everybody stood together and put up a fight about the poor hourly wage we receive, then maybe we can do something about it.

Shouldn’t we all be treated equally? It’s not an unreasonable request.


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