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Minimum wage rise 'is sparking age bias at work'

By Staff Reporter

Published 06/06/2016

Concern: Kerry Fleck
Concern: Kerry Fleck

More workers are facing age discrimination due to the rise in national minimum wage rates, a charity has claimed.

The Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre said in recent months there has been an "alarming increase" in complaints from workers in relation to discrimination on grounds of age.

The charity - which provides advice to workers from a range of backgrounds - said this increase appeared to be coming mainly from the retail sector and was a result of employers' response to the new increased national minimum wage rates for over 25s. Centre spokeswoman Kerry Fleck claimed some employers were taking on more younger staff to save on their wage bill.

"We are highly concerned at the surge of people approaching us for assistance in employment matters which appear to be linked to the rise in the national minimum wage rates," she said.

She said the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre is calling for vigilance from trade unions and statutory bodies in identifying such cases and ensuring that employers are challenged.

"It is a sad reality that the majority of workers in non-unionised workplaces will not know what their rights are in relation to the minimum wage and the potential for discrimination.

"I would call on all workers who suspect they have been the victims of such discrimination to join a union, avail of union's support to unionise their workplace and contact the Equality Commission to report their concerns."

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