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20 May 2009

Enthusiastic reception for Youth Fight for jobs

Having marched through the rain at the Unite demonstration in central Birmingham on Saturday, Youth Fight for Jobs campaigners attended a 'Young Voices - Make Them Heard' meeting called by Unite. The meeting had a panel of representatives from the UK Youth Parliament, the British Youth Council and Unite Students.

Stephen Burrell, Birmingham YFJ

Unfortunately the event was not particularly well publicised, and there were about 25 people in attendance. We were informed that everything that came out of the meeting would be written up in a report for Unite to consider and take action on.

During the meeting several people expressed their fears about the financial costs of university, making higher education unaffordable for many, as well as the lack of jobs now available for young people. Matt Dobson, Youth Fight for Jobs steering committee member, pointed out that, with the crisis in capitalism, masses of young people are facing low paid, insecure jobs or unemployment.

Getting young people more aware of, and involved in, trade unions was also discussed. Matt argued that a fightback is needed from the unions on the issues affecting young people and all of society. It would be through this that trade unions would start to matter to young people. Leah Ganley, a YFJ activist in Scotland, described some of the achievements of the campaign in its short history. By hitting the streets and the workplaces and taking action like YFJ has, Leah suggested, the trade unions could be seen as more important to young people.

After the meeting many young people said they were interested in YFJ. Some of the youth workers at the meeting also expressed support for the campaign and told us of their experience of youth services being attacked with cuts and job losses. It was clear that among many ordinary people such as those at this meeting, there is a growing mood to fight back.