Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/630/9882
Protesting at Iain's Dickensian Society
ON FRIDAY 18 June, Youth Fight for Jobs held a demonstration outside the MP surgery of Iain Duncan Smith (IDS), former Conservative party leader and current Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
The protesters gathered in Chingford, east London, angry at the lack of employment opportunities and proposed changes to the welfare system that may see them working for their benefits. Some came dressed for work, angry at being categorised as lazy or feckless, one came as the grim reaper, the lettering on his scythe bemoaning "Iain's Dickensian Society".
Chingford is part of Waltham Forest borough which has one of the country's highest unemployment rates. Almost 13 people receive unemployment benefits for every job vacancy. Proposed cuts to local colleges and to Education Maintenance Allowance will leave many young people facing an even bleaker future.
IDS would not speak to anyone, shuffling quickly past the protest, pausing briefly to shrug when asked about his proposals to improve opportunities for young people. He plans a complete overhaul of the welfare system with the purported aim of 'simplifying' the system and 'providing greater incentives to work'.
However he recently oversaw the abolition of the Future Jobs Fund, and ignores the reality that for many people the jobs simply are not there. Not surprising for a man described by party colleagues as "not the sharpest knife in the drawer".
An unemployed graduate civil engineer from Chingford said: "The situation is dire for young people at the moment. The government should be helping by encouraging the creation of decent jobs, not by looking to use them as cheap labour.
"Why not invest in creating sustainable infrastructure for the country rather than bailing out large private companies and financial institutions?"
Others expressed anger at being forced into student debt with the promise of a decent career, only to find no jobs were available when they graduated. Some were angry at the lack of training courses and apprenticeships. The government must invest in young people and not leave us in poverty and unemployment.
In The Socialist 23 June 2010:
Youth fight for jobs
National Shop Stewards Network
Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis