Aug 22 2012 By Joe McGuire
SIX youngsters who completed apprenticeships with the city council are being thrown on to the dole.
The apprentices thought they would get a permanent job after they completed their training in white-collar work.
But they have been told they are not being kept on – even though there are vacancies in their department.
Union leaders have accused the council of using the young workers as cheap labour during the two-year apprenticeships.
And one of the young workers facing the dole said: “I left school after getting my Standard Grades because of the apprenticeship.
“My family encouraged me – they all said a council job was a job for life.
“Now I’m faced with signing on to the dole. It’s ridiculous that they’re laying us off when there are jobs they’re trying to fill.
“My family aren’t well-off and we all contribute to the household budget. Now I feel like I’m letting the them down.”
The youngsters were on the Commonwealth Apprenticeship scheme – which was designed to combat youth unemployment – and they did their training in the council’s land and environmental services department.
Apprentices earn less than the minimum wage – £587 for a 140-hour month, which works out at just over £4 an hour.
Chris Stephens , of the union Unison, said: “The treatment of these six Commonwealth apprentices appears to be little more than cheap labour and is a potential abuse of public money.
“Glasgow City Council’s behaviour has forced the STUC to contact the Scottish Parliament Funding Board, addressing this matter at the highest level.
“We urge the council even at this very late stage to re-instate these apprentices and provide them with the opportunities that have been afforded to those undertaking youth training in the past.”
A council spokesman said: “It is simply not possible to guarantee that everyone will find a job right at the end of their apprenticeship. However, they are much better placed to find jobs because they have been an apprentice.”