Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/603/8410
Bristol Youth Fight for Jobs challenges council leader
On Tuesday 17 November a delegation from the Bristol Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) campaign met with the Liberal Democrat leader of Bristol city council, councillor Barbara Janke, to discuss the council's response to the present crisis of youth unemployment.
Andrew Taggart, Bristol YFJ
As with the rest of Britain, unemployment amongst young people has risen dramatically in Bristol over the last year, almost doubling.
Our meeting was an opportunity to probe the councillor on her response to youth unemployment in the city and to propose to her a series of measures to help tackle the crisis.
When questioned over the council's strategy to avoid the prospect of creating a 'lost generation' through chronic unemployment, councillor Janke's response was tepid. An already existing apprenticeship scheme and the startlingly inadequate Future Jobs Fund are the extent of the council's plans.
In addition to the inadequacies of these schemes, which pay low wages and offer no long term job security, they will cater only for around 300 young people, less than 10% of the 18-24 year olds in Bristol who claimed Jobseekers Allowance last month.
In distinction to the lacklustre plans of the council, Bristol YFJ proposed to her that:
- The number of the apprentices in the council should be doubled, with agreed trade union rates of pay and a guaranteed job at the end.
- A feasibility study should be commissioned to provide information on how much it would cost to create a job or training scheme for all under 25s who have been looking for work for more than six months.
- The council should provide free travel by bus and train for unemployed people under the age of 25 who have been looking for work for over six months.
Responding to these proposals, councillor Janke rejected any prospect of change to the existing apprentice arrangements, using the worn excuse of 'the recession not allowing it'. On the issue of free transport, she has agreed to further discussions with us.
In The Socialist 25 November 2009:
Socialist Party editorial
Marxist analysis: history
Environment and socialism
War and occupation
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news
Socialist Party review