The Socialist 19 March 2014 |
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Fight for real jobs for young people
Join the day of action on 29 March
Sick of Your Boss? Youth Fight for Jobs campaigning, photo Nancy Taaffe (Click to enlarge)
Helen Pattison, London Youth Fight for Jobs
As budget day approached, mainstream politicians and media were scrambling around to look good or mud sling on the issue of youth unemployment and the economy in general.
Headlines screamed about the "huge economic growth" of 3% we might see over the next year. The Telegraph is peddling the propaganda from the government that youth unemployment isn't as bad as figures suggest and that more people are in work than have been for a year.
The British Chambers of Commerce is publicly calling on Osborne to make sure that the budget focuses on youth joblessness, with tax breaks to encourage investment and money for big businesses that are nice enough to give a job to a young person.
Labour no alternative
Youth Fight for Jobs protests against zero-hour contracts outside Sports Direct, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Labour has re-pledged its 'youth guarantee' - promising a six month job for all 18-24 year olds out of work for a year - supposedly funded by a one-off levy of bankers' bonuses.
Labour's shadow housing minister was forced to admit this plan would mean the party would have to re-think using this money to fund house-building as had previously been promised.
The big businesses that take part would not have to pay a penny of wages. And of course it won't actually create any new jobs so the vast majority of participants would be out on their ear at the end of the placement.
All this talk is just a smoke screen to hide the continued misery young people face of a jobless or slave-wage future - nothing has changed on the ground.
The jobs that have been created have been measly zero-hour contracts or part-time work on minimum wage pay.
Fast Food Rights
But, offering inspiration to young workers and unemployed people here, the fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage in the US rages on (see report on right).
Now Youth Fight for Jobs, has teamed up with others, including the Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union, to begin building something similar here by setting up Fast Food Rights.
Bakers union workers (BFAWU) at the TUC demonstration in Manchester against Tory Party conference 29/09/13 demands Save our NHS, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
The campaign has been targeting McDonalds, Burger King and Costa. The bakers' union wrote to them all asking for the chance to come in and discuss with their workers about joining a union.
McDonalds replied that their workers were perfectly happy, but when we leafleted their stores in Oxford Street, London, management ripped leaflets from the hands of staff and kicked us out.
The next Fast Food Rights day of action is on 29 March when up and down the country low-paid workers and their supporters will be protesting on high streets and in shopping centres for better pay, an end to zero-hour contracts and for trade union rights.
Check www.youthfightforjobs.com for details of events near you on the day of action