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March for jobs 2011
Join the Jarrow march!
Recent research has shown that half of all final year university students say they wouldn't have applied to university if fees had been £9,000 a year. This makes it even clearer that young people in Britain are faced with a stark choice: fight for our futures or become a lost generation.
A breathtaking one in five 16 to 24 year olds are now out of work and the youth unemployment figures continue to rise. It is becoming increasingly hard to find even the low-paid 'McJobs' that had become the norm for young people.
The problems of finding work are shown in the Wiltshire town of Trowbridge. In recent years, factories have moved out of the town and the people have had to rely on call centre jobs, often with worse terms and conditions.
Now even these jobs are starting to go. Vodafone, target of national UK Uncut protests highlighting a massive tax dodge, are due to close their call centre in Trowbridge, cutting 200 jobs.
Not content with doing nothing to help youth who are out of work, the government's slash and burn approach to public services will greatly increase the number of unemployed.
And life is no easier for those looking to escape the dole queue by learning new skills. The scrapping of the meagre EMA payments for 16 to 19 year olds and the rise in tuition fees to £9,000 a year will price many out of education. Funding cuts will reduce the range of course choices. It is estimated that there will be 36,000 fewer university places this year than last.
Everywhere young people turn, doors are being closed in their faces. But if we fight back we can win. The student protests last year showed that young people are not as apathetic as we are often portrayed. The trade union demonstration of at least half a million on 26 March shows the potential for a powerful mass campaign.
75 years ago 200 men marched from Jarrow to London, protesting against unemployment. Marching over 280 miles, they showed unity and strength, fighting against a government whose policies prevented them from earning a living and having a decent life.
This generation faces a similar situation to the Jarrow marchers in 1936 and, like them, we will not take it lying down. Inspired by these workers I will be joining the Jarrow march this October organised by Youth Fight for Jobs.
With growing support from the trade unions and from young people up and down the country, this march will play an important role in building a mass movement against the cuts. We're fighting for decent jobs and a decent future.
In The Socialist 4 May 2011:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party feature
Already posted on the Socialist Party website