Uplift will see pay doubled for some apprentices

Unite the union has today (31 March) welcomed the announcement that all apprentices at Scottish Borders Council (SBC) will be paid the real Living Wage rate following a campaign by the trade union.

SBC confirmed that it will now pay the real Living Wage to its modern apprentices regardless of age across all council departments from 1st April. The real Living Wage is currently £10.90.

SBC currently employ 58 apprentices who are paid differing wage levels based on age. The current National Minimum Wage levels are as follows under 18 years - £4.81; 18-20 years - £6.83; 21-22 years - £9.18, 23 years and over £9.50 with an apprenticeship level of £4.81. The development at SBC will ensure that some apprentices will see their hourly wage more than doubled.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Scottish Borders Council scrapping apprenticeship age rates following a campaign by Unite is a very welcome development. It’s now incumbent upon all local authorities in Scotland to follow this lead by paying all apprentices the real Living Wage as a minimum. Unite is pleased to secure this win for apprentices in the Borders and we aim to secure it for all across Scotland.”

Unite is demanding that every local authority in Scotland follow the lead of SBC by scrapping apprenticeship age rates with the trade union making it a key part of its 2023-24 local government pay claim.

Pat Egan, Unite industrial officer, added: “This is a very important precedent that Unite has been able to negotiate for apprentices in the Scottish Borders. Over fifty apprentices will now be paid the same rate while undergoing their training. Unite is also demanding that apprenticeship age rates are scrapped and it will be a key part of our local government pay claim going forward.”