Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/634/10070
For real jobs, not slave labour
The Tories' new youth service plan is the latest attempt to use young people as free labour. Billed as "non-military national service", it will offer 16 year olds an eight week programme of volunteering and community work immediately after finishing school.
Rather than help young people, this scheme simply encourages them to do unpaid jobs without even the suggestion of it leading to employment at the end of the eight weeks.
The scheme will not initially be compulsory but David Cameron has made it clear that is the direction he sees it going in.
The scheme will effectively create a slave labour force of young people who can be used to do work that was previously done by paid temporary workers.
What better way to plug gaps left in public services by massive cuts than with tens of thousands of young "volunteers"?
This will affect everyone as it will drive down wages and conditions. Why employ someone on a decent wage with guaranteed rights when businesses can simply draft in a young person for free with no contract?
Ironically, Labour has criticised the programme even though it introduced similar programmes for young people only six months ago.
Its Community Task Force (which has been kept on by the Con-Dem government) forces under 25s on benefits to do volunteer work or face their benefits being cut.
This is all part of the Tories' ideological drive towards the so called "big society". Cameron claims young people "feel their lives lack shape and direction" but these volunteer schemes are not the answer.
He doesn't accept that his government's cuts will destroy communities and condemn a whole generation of young people to long-term unemployment and poverty.
We need to demand investment into public services alongside more funding for free education and to create real jobs and opportunities for young people.
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In The Socialist 4 August 2010:
War and occupation
Workplace news and analysis
Youth fight for jobs
Environment and socialism
Socialist Party LGBT
Socialist Party events
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Review & Comment