Youth Fight For Jobs


Between February 2008 and February 09, youth unemployment increased by 70%. Now around one in five youth are unemployed, just under one million. But wait a minute, who created this crisis? This was a crisis created in the boardrooms of the banks and the multinationals, not in the classrooms and workplaces. Those such as Sir Fred Goodwin, former boss at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) who left with £16 million to fund him in his retirement, or Adam Applegarth, ex-Northern Rock boss, who got a £760,000 pay-off when forced to leave due to his bank going bust, are responsible!

The banks had £1.2 trillion worth of bailouts and guarantees from the British government. This has stopped a complete collapse of the banks at this stage, but instead has allowed the finance sector to continue gambling on the stock market. This money has not been used to look after ordinary peoples interests, instead it has allowed banks to carry on as before, including handing out an estimated £60 billion in bonuses this year to the very people who got them into trouble in the first place.

Meanwhile, young people and workers are virtually abandoned. £1 billion has been put into the Future Jobs Fund, to create 20,000 temporary jobs for young people – far short of what is needed. The government is looking into increasing what we pay towards college and university education, with university fees likely to be raised to at least £5,000 a year.

Workers in the private sector face a cut in living standards, as the cost of living increases, while pay stays the same. Many shops, hotels and other parts of the service sector face an uncertain future, and many economists say the economy could take further hits and downturns. We are being asked to pay the price for this economic crisis, through unemployment, low wages and attacks on our right to education.

But why should it be this way? There are 5 million people waiting for council houses, but many builders have lost their jobs. A government scheme to build the houses that are needed would create jobs, provide apprenticeships and improve the lives of millions of people. Abolishing university fees for all would cost £3.5 billion, according to the Liberal Democrats. Yet over £100 billion is lost through tax ‘evasion’ (or fraud if it were me or you doing it) by the biggest companies.

Youth Fight for Jobs was launched at the start of the recession to say we won’t pay for the bosses’ crisis. The bosses’ organisations and the capitalist politicians are united in saying that we must face cuts in our public services, pay and opportunities. But Youth Fight for Jobs (YFfJ) has been organising young people to defend our interests.

The first event that YFfJ held was part of the protests at the G20 in April 2009. This involved around 600 young people marching through four of London’s poorest boroughs, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham, in tribute to the long marches of unemployed workers in the 1930s ie the Jarrow marchers. In November 2009we organised a demonstration of well over 1,000 young people, around the slogan ‘for free education – for real jobs’. This involved students and young people from around the country, and contingents from Day-Mer Youth, Cypriot Youth Platform and Tamil Solidarity. We’ve held protests against the rising youth unemployment figures, government cutbacks and most recently, against bankers’ bonuses. There are videos of these and more up on our YouTube channel,

It is clear from what Labour and the Tories say and what they have done so far, that they will look after the richest, but not the majority, youth and workers. We will have to get organised and fight for our voices to be heard. That is why YFfJ is an active campaign seeking to involve new members in the campaign and to highlight our cause. That is also why we have linked up with the trade union movement – organisations that fight for workers’ interests. Our fight is their fight. YFfJ has the support nationally of the RMT (tube and transport workers union), PCS (civil service union) and CWU (postal workers and communications union), as well as over fifty local union branches and students unions.

We are a democratic campaign. We held our launch conference in May 2009, which decided many of the policies for the coming year. You can find the decisions agreed at the conference on our website. Conference also elected a steering committee for the campaign which has met every three months since, and to which all affiliated organisations (including Day-Mer Youth) are invited to send along a delegate. Our next conference will take place later this year and all members will be welcome to attend and vote.

YFfJ is organising protests and demonstrations around the country, including in Leeds, Cardiff, Newcastle, Manchester, Brighton and elsewhere. We are also organising a demonstration in Barking, against youth unemployment but also to campaign against the vile, racist, far-right BNP who seek to blame non-whites for the effects of this crisis, rather than the bosses system. We want to unite working-class people from all backgrounds to fight against this system. This will be taking place on March 13, and we would like to see as many people there as possible!

The campaign has made a good start in its first year. As well as the national campaigns mentioned above, there are local campaigns, many of which have made steps towards winning improvements for unemployed people and youth. But the campaign is just starting off, and we welcome everyone to join the campaign and get active with us!

020 8558 7947 ● PO BOX 858, London, E11 1YG


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