Minimum – Salary shame for firms

Student representatives at the English ICA are calling for action following the revelation that some trainees are being paid less than the national minimum wage, which comes into force today.

The institute’s salary survey, released last month, shows starting salaries of less than #5,500 – significantly lower than the #7,000 which results by applying the #3.60 per hour minimum wage.

Although many trainees enjoy a starting salary among the highest in the graduate recruitment market, the survey indicates a significant number of trainees working for small firms could have grounds to demand increases.

Trade secretary Stephen Byers recently launched a #5m advertising campaign to raise awareness among employees.

Phil Armitage, the institute’s director of education and training, said member firms may be able to take advantage of an exemption in the new regulations, allowing some trainees to be paid just #3.20 an hour if they are undergoing ‘accredited training’.

But Lee Aston, vice chairman of the institute’s student council, called for firms to comply with the new legislation.

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