TRAINEE solicitors are being pressured into choosing between dropping their demands for an increase in the minimum salary or losing it altogether.
Roger Jones, chair of the Law Society's training committee, has told the Trainee Solicitors' Group he will not press for a vote on the abolition of the salary later this month if the group does not call for an increase in the minimum salary.
The offer has forced the group to reconsider an earlier decision to ask for a five per cent increase in the wage for second year trainees.
It has also caused consternation among many TSG members who privately complain their hand is being forced by Jones, a charge denied by the long-time opponent of the minimum salary.
He says: “My views on the minimum salary have been known for a long time, but as chairman of the training committee I have responsibility for both the Trainee Solicitors' Group and the practising profession.
“I think this could be a compromise that members of the practising profession could live with.”
Recently Jones said he thought it “entirely possible” the overwhelming opposition to abolition of the minimum salary at a Law Society full council two years ago may have melted away.
Trainee Solicitors' Group chair Richard Moorhead acknowledges Jones' public comments on the strength of feeling against the salary has put the group under pressure.
He is still consulting over the possibility of a change in the group's policy.
“Our members feel the salary is very low and they sense that people are falling away from the profession as a result of that. I can't comment on the specifics of the situation, but Roger Jones has been encouraging us not to go for an increase in the salary.”