Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 February 2012

'We want jobs - not slave labour!'

Youth Fight for Jobs is one of the key organisations fighting the government's workfare schemes. As the name suggests the campaign demands investment in real jobs not the government's slave labour schemes. Here Paul Callanan, YFJ national organiser, spoke to the Socialist about why young people find themselves in this situation.

Why does unemployment hit young people in particular?

First off this has nothing to do with young people not being willing to work! Young people were in a precarious situation before the current crisis.

Even when the economy was relatively stable young people worked mostly in the retail or service sector, quite often being paid less than the measly minimum wage, with insecure contracts that could see them hired and fired on a whim.

Now that the crisis has hit the high streets, increasing numbers of youth are being put out of work, with no other jobs to go to. Many employers pass over young people's CVs - they want workers with experience.

And since the 1980s big business has massively reduced its investment in manufacturing, increasing its profits from super-exploitation in countries where workers' rights are minimal.

This was accelerated by the Thatcher government's deliberate drive to destroy Britain's manufacturing base. One result is that apprenticeships and training-on-the-job schemes have dried up.

Today big business has an estimated 130 billion stashed away but it faces restricted opportunities to invest profitably in Britain's depleted manufacturing sector. Business investment fell by 1.7 billion at the end of 2011, a drop of over 5% on the previous quarter.

Going into education can be seen as a way of avoiding the dole queue but with cuts and privatisation, tuition fee hikes and the scrapping of EMA student payments, increasing numbers of young people, especially working class youth, are denied access to education.

Why is the government pursuing its workfare policy if it's so unpopular?

Workfare is hated because people see it for what it is - super-exploitation. Look at the figures: 600 people applied for 35 Tesco jobs in Leicester. People are desperate for work but the government is forcing the unemployed to work for companies like Tesco for their dole.

Despite this widespread opposition the government appears to be ploughing on. It doesn't act in the interest of the majority of people, but in the interests of capitalism and big business. One of the ways in which the government will help out big business is to provide cheap, even free labour for them. Another is privatisation.

Why should people in work care about workfare?

Because if bosses can use the unemployed as free labour then why would they want to carry on paying their present staff? Why would they take on any more at the going rate?

What we call for is a movement of workers and youth to stop this race to the bottom and fight for decent jobs, terms and conditions for workers and the unemployed alike.

Can we really win job creation?

We can certainly win victories. Look at what we've already achieved with so many companies forced to pull out of the scheme.

But the best way of fighting unemployment is preventing it. It's possible for workers to stop the bosses' attacks if they organise and fight back. Just look at what happened with the tremendous victory of the construction workers who have successfully defended a national agreement that protects jobs, terms and conditions.

And we can win job creation. Look at the example of Liverpool council in the 1980s. They refused to implement cuts and actually set a 'needs budget', based on local need for housing, welfare, etc. They were able to win the money from the Thatcher government because they gave a fighting lead and mobilised trade unions and working class communities to support their stand.

And, until the battles of last year, mainly over public sector pensions, there has been a low level of trade union struggle in recent decades. Young people haven't had experience of defeating the bosses. But we are learning fast!

What can be done to help young people into work?

Youth Fight for Jobs and the Socialist Party call for investment in jobs and training. We also think that the existing work should be shared out but with no loss of pay.

Why should some have to work all the hours in the week while others cannot get a job? But there are other measures that would help - like ending the attacks on pensions that will force people to work till they drop.

There should be a programme of socially useful public works. For example we have huge levels of unemployment in the construction industry and a massive council house waiting list.

A programme of house building would give young people the opportunity to train in construction trades and provide millions of families with affordable social housing.

We call for the banking system to be nationalised under democratic control of elected committees with representatives of trade unions, communities and so on as a way of funding this.

We say that the top monopolies should be nationalised as part of a democratic plan of production. Then the vast wealth and resources in the hands of the 1% could be used to meet the needs of the 99%.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 29 February 2012:

Fighting workfare

We won't work for free!

Working class needs real political opposition to Con-Dem millionaires

A4e: workfare vultures in crisis

'We want jobs - not slave labour!'

Interview with a jobcentre worker

Socialist Party news and analysis

Stop the Health Bill

Solidarity with Occupy London protesters

Unison leadership found guilty of "unjustifiable discipline" against four Socialist Party activists

Sun launch can't hide corrupt practices

It's bonuses for bankers

Them & Us

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Why I'm standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in the London Assembly election

Student walkout - build mass action

Kirklees Sure Start children centres

Voluntary sector cuts expose Big Society lies

Stop North East NHS childcare cuts

Sheffield housing - failed by privatisation

Campaign news in brief

The battle against internet censorship

May Day Greetings in the Socialist

International socialist news and analysis

Iran: Tensions with the US and its allies are ratcheted-up

Europe - Young people fight ACTA

Socialist Party workplace news

'Priceless victory' of sparks against the Dirty Seven

Continuing the pensions battle: PCS consultative ballot

Continuing the pensions battle - Universities

Three-year pay freeze hits hard

Workplace news in brief


Home   |   The Socialist 29 February 2012   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  

Related links:


triangleNationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

triangleBalloting members on the pay cap

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleBoeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangleMonarch abdicates responsibility to workers


triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

Young people:

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleWest London Socialist Party: Young people need socialism!


triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleCampaign against political repression in Hong Kong


triangleFight for free education

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice