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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 January 2011

No to sky-high youth unemployment!

The recent announcement of the latest unemployment figures confirmed what most of us already knew. The number of people out of work jumped by 49,000 to 2.5 million in the three months to November 2010.

Paul Callanan, Youth Fight for Jobs

The rise among people between the ages of 18 and 25 was disproportionately high with a jump by 32,000 to 951,000 - the highest since records began in 1992.

One of the most striking features of January's figures is the rise in the number of 16-17 year olds not in employment, education or training (NEET) - the number has gone up to 204,000 from 177,000 in the previous quarter.

The Con-Dem government has already wound up Labour's Future Jobs Fund which was supposed to deliver 100,000 jobs for young people. Although it would only have provided 18-24 year olds with 20 hours a week of work on minimum wage, it is better than the work-for-your-dole schemes that are currently being discussed by the government.

The government's rhetoric about needing to get young people out of the 'cycle of worklessness' shows just how out of touch the politicians and their big business mates are. The fact of the matter is that there are simply no jobs to be had. There are currently 480,000 vacancies while 2.5 million people are unemployed. And that's before the government has carried through its brutal austerity programme.

The Con-Demolition government plans to take its wrecking ball to around 500,000 public sector jobs. This will mean that the private sector, where most young people who have jobs work in low-paid, insecure jobs, will also shed 500,000 jobs as less people are spending in the retail sector and private contractors lose public sector deals.

On 29 January the Trades Union Congress is holding a rally for "a future that works", following a motion that was passed at the annual congress in September 2010. The motion acknowledged the role that Youth Fight for Jobs has played in campaigning on the issue of youth unemployment. This demo should adopt YFJ's demand for a massive programme of job creation.

Like many motions before it the TUC attempted to kick it into the long grass and not act on it. A demonstration in support of the rally has been called by the civil servants' union, PCS and the lecturers' union, UCU. It has now been backed by the National Union of Students and Unison.

The huge student movement that erupted last year was a shining example of how to fight the Con-Dem government and its cuts agenda. We now need young trade unionists and the unemployed to come into that movement.

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In The Socialist 26 January 2011:


Socialist Party youth and students

Fight for jobs and education

Where next for the student movement?

Education Maintenance Allowance days of action 18 and 19 January

No to sky-high youth unemployment!


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