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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 September 2010

No to slave labour apprenticeships!

The lack of college places means that those young people who find themselves among the 150,000 failed university applicants will now start looking for alternatives.

Before the election the Tories claimed that they would implement "a big, bold, radical scheme to get millions of people back to work". This included the creation of 100,000 apprenticeships to tackle the rising youth unemployment.

Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) argued at the time that this was just an empty promise from the party that presided over a period of mass youth unemployment during the 1980s. And the actions of the government prove this prediction to be correct. The Tories are no different today to what they were then.

The schemes that have been rolled out by Iain Duncan Smith, the secretary for Work and Pensions, have been bold only in their strident attacks on working class youth.

Rather than apprenticeships, we have slave labour schemes where the unemployed will be forced to do "voluntary" work to receive benefits payments.

Rather than learning the skills needed to go into a trade and secure a long term future, young people will now find themselves stuck in a cycle of going from one low paid menial job to another.

One in five (almost one million) 16-24 year olds are not in work, training or employment. The government's promise to create 100,000 apprenticeships would only scratch the surface of this problem.

In the wake of the university places fiasco, apprenticeships are hugely in demand. In August, 24,000 people applied for just 221 apprenticeships at BT. Nissan has just opened up 75 places for apprentices, this just a year after shedding 1,200 jobs.

It is clear that to provide people with real apprenticeships on decent rates of pay will require a mass programme of public works and the nationalisation, under democratic workers control, of businesses like Nissan when they threaten to lay people off.

Even those that are lucky enough to get a place face an uncertain future.

Apprenticeships are usually unpaid with no guarantee that you will have a job at the end of the training period. Employers are clearly misusing apprenticeship as a way to bring in cheap labour under the guise of training young school and college leavers and then dumping them for a new batch of young workers before they have to pay them.

YFJ fights for the rights of all youth to a decent job and a decent education. We say that employers should be made to pay apprentices the going rate for the job they are doing and that it should come with a guaranteed job at the end.

We need to build a mass campaign to say no to slave labour schemes and rip off apprenticeships.

Paul Callanan

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 9 September 2010:

We can stop the Con-Dem cuts

Health workers' victory

National Shop Stewards Network lobby of the TUC


Socialist Students

We won't be a lost generation!

No to slave labour apprenticeships!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Tony Blair - a journey to Thatcherism

Blair admits he was wrong...

Academies will lead to a two-tier education system

Jobs and services are facing axe in Cornwall


Socialist Party youth and students

Far right not welcome in Brighton

Con-Dems threaten EMA


Socialist Party workplace news

Solid strike on London Underground

London bus workers fight cuts

London: Unite members to strike against NHS privatisation

Corus Redcar - the real story

New Royal Mail boss sharpens her axe


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Fighting for the health service

The callous cutting of NHS Direct


Socialism 2010

Against cuts? Come to Socialism 2010


International socialist news and analysis

Russia: Motorway construction through Khimkinsky forest halted

Global food crisis reveals failure of capitalism


Socialist Party feature

No to Trident nuclear weapons


Socialist Party review

Zola's Germinal: still relevant today


 

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