Outrage over new ‘unfair’ training fee of up to €1,433 imposed on apprentices
Apprentices have ‘little or no access’ to services for which they are charged
TEEU general secretary Eamon Devoy: “Everyone we’ve met is outraged with this and have no intention of paying it.” Photograph: Aidan Crawley.
A national campaign called “Axe the tax in training” was launched by the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) and Union of Students in Ireland (USI) yesterday in a bid to reverse a Government decision to impose a new training fee on apprentices.
Starting this year, a student services fee of between €833 and €1,433 will be charged to apprentices who attend institutes of technology, despite many earning very low wages.
In support of the 7,500 apprentices across the country, TEEU general secretary Eamon Devoy said yesterday he believed it was an unfair fee.
“Everyone we’ve met is outraged with this and have no intention of paying it,” he said. “They have little or no access to the services for which they are being charged.”
He said the dispute could escalate in the next 10 weeks if the issue is not resolved before apprentices are due to receive their exam results and qualify.
Electrical apprentice Michael Murray (22), who is in the final phase of his training, said he could not believe it when he saw the bill. “None of us expected this. We’re struggling hard enough as it is.”
A spokeswoman for Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn said apprentices who attended college were no longer treated differently from other students.
She confirmed a meeting with the TEEU was declined as the decision would go ahead.