WOULD you work as hard as your colleague in the same job but for 30 per cent less pay?
About 1360 people in the central west do just that.
Retail workers aged 18 earn 30 per cent less than their colleagues aged over 21, workers who are 19 earn 20 per cent less and those who are 20 earn 10 per cent less.
Former Orange student, 20-year-old Ashleigh van Kemenade said it was not fair.
“I have been training people older than me who get paid more than me,” she said.
The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) wants the rate of pay for 18 year olds to be the same for all adults.
Spokesman Mitchell Worsley said quite often by the time an employee reached 21 they had already been employed for years.
“Sometimes they’re getting jobs at 15 and 16 and by the time they reach 21 they’re very experienced,” he said.
Miss van Kemenade said she tried to look elsewhere for work where she would be paid the same as her colleagues.
She thought about becoming a swimming teacher but more flexible hours was a big plus for working in retail.
The SDA was in Orange yesterday as part of a regional tour to raise awareness of the issue and garner support for change but they are starting small.
Rather than push for the full 100 per cent pay for 18 year olds, they will start by pushing for full pay for 20 year olds.
“We’re aware of the economic impact it will have so it needs to be a gradual increase,” Mr Worsley said.
The SDA is only targeting their fight for better pay at the retail sector but sectors such as hospitality pay lower rates for younger staff.
If successful at the Fair Work Commission, about 380 20-year-old retail workers in the central west will receive another $2 per hour.