Patrick Harvie MSP, Finance and Economy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, used the first First Minister's Questions of 2016 to push for bolder measures to tackle big employers who pay young workers low wages and use zero hours contracts.
Research by the Resolution Foundation shows that the UK Government's so-called National Living Wage for those aged 25 and over will not eradicate low pay, and projects that by 2020 around one-third of the low paid will be those under 25.
Patrick Harvie MSP, Finance and Economy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Glasgow, said:
"The UK Government's con-trick of a National Living Wage could lead to big employers looking to cut costs through increased exploitation of younger workers on zero hours contracts. The Scottish Government's Fair Work agenda, which encourages responsible employment practices, is a positive one but appears to be all carrot and no stick. We need ministers to be bolder and more assertive with employers who resist paying decent wages and who see insecure employment as a way round their responsibilities.
"At present, Scottish taxpayers are funding business support services regardless of whether an employer meets the Fair Work standards, so there's no incentive to improve. At the very least, these services should require that the new Minimum Wage rate is given to all employees, regardless of age. Supporting employers who want to do the right thing and pay the real Living Wage is a positive step, but it's also time to stop using public funds to support those who point blank refuse.
"Scottish Greens have consistently challenged the Scottish Government's approach to public subsidies for big businesses with poor track records on taxation and ethics, and it cannot be right for taxpayer funds to go towards firms who drag their feet on fair treatment of young workers. Ministers appear to be facing in the right direction on this but we need them to go much further."