SIXTH-FORMERS gave union leaders and education minister Ivan Lewis a rough ride about pay and conditions for young workers at a TUC conference fringe meeting on Monday.
The group of 17-year-olds from Hove Park school in Brighton had been invited to the TUC's launch of a revised version of its Better Way To Work teachers' resource pack.
But when speaker after speaker praised the "innovation" of using young people's feedback as a basis for revision of the guide, student Chris Pitcher decided to have his say. "I'm afraid I'm going to have a whinge," he said, adding there was "too much talk and not enough action".
He said listening to feedback from young people should be commonplace, not an innovation, and attacked both the Labour Party and trade unions for failing to secure a minimum wage for under-18s.
The pack contains activities and lesson plans for use with Key Stage 4 citizenship to prepare pupils for work experience or actual jobs.
Author Julia Fiehn, of the Learning and Skills Development Agency, hopes it will also demonstrate the importance of trade unionism to young people.
Afterwards Chris, his friends Paul Bradshaw and Alastair Gavan, and their director of sixth form studies Colin Laker revealed they had not been shown a copy. When finally given one by The TES they praised it, saying it appeared useful and well put-together.
The TUC has prepared 1000 copies of the pack and will contact schools inviting applications. Local union branches are likely to sponsor the printing of more copies if demand exists.