Guest blog from the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign, an organisation that has worked with PCS and especially the Young Members Network on campaigning on youth issues. Helen Pattison, one of the lead organisers of YFFJ blogs:
For a majority of young people leaving school jobs are scarce. If you do get a job, it’s often an apprenticeship, a temporary or zero-hours contract on the minimum wage. Inevitably young people will be forced into claiming in work and out of work benefits until real action is taken to create jobs and free education for young people.
The government divides young people into “strivers and shirkers”, despite a government minister being more than 30 minutes late to debate Youth Fight for Jobs on TV earlier this year. In reality, this government has been taking away opportunities from young people by cutting EMA, trebling tuition fees, encouraging casualisation and zero-hours contracts and refusing to make the minimum wage enough to live off.
In the eyes of the Tories a “shirker” is anyone who isn’t one of the Eton boys; whether you’re in work or not, if you need benefits or support you are a “shirker”. Now Cameron has announced plans to withdraw ALL benefits to under 25s. Young people are under attack from this government. Job cuts, frozen wages and rising unemployment are forcing a generation into poverty.
This is why it’s more important than ever for young workers to get involved in fighting trade unions and for young claimants to organise against the government, in a joint movement to save jobs and services but also campaign for job creation and free education.
Workfare should be scrapped, and every workfare post converted into a full time, decent paid job as a starting point. It is a myth that young people are “lazy” and therefore responsible for the mass unemployment that exists today. Young people rely on benefits because of successive government’s attacks on working conditions, pay and jobs.
Youth Fight for Jobs is committed to organise young people in and around the trade unions, to build a movement involving young people against austerity.
Helen Pattision, Youth Fight for Jobs