Young people won’t pay the price of the bosses’ crisis

Stand with striking workers

Adam Powell-Davies, Youth Fight for Jobs

Amid a historic cost-of-living crisis, Tory chancellor Jeremy Hunt has confirmed new ‘youth rates’ for young workers on the minimum wage. From April 2023, 16 to 17-year-olds can be paid as low as £5.28 an hour. Why should the bosses be allowed to pay us less, and pocket extra profit, just because of our age?

Meanwhile, university students are being told to survive with just 2.8% extra maintenance support next year, equating to an 11% cut in the average student’s spending power over two years. This would be the steepest drop in students’ living standards ever, at a time when 91% are already worried about the cost of living.

And all young people would face the consequences of a new round of cuts and privatisation to public services, including the NHS, schools and libraries.

Fortunately, young people can see a powerful means to fight back. Stirred by continued attacks from the Tories and the bosses, a force has re-emerged in Britain at a level not seen before in our lifetimes: the working-class, organised in the trade unions.

Through a historic wave of strike action, the trade unions have shown themselves to be on the frontline defending the conditions of workers and young people.

By going on strike, health workers are not just fighting for their own pay rises, but to save the NHS altogether. Education workers are not just striking on pay, but for the funding that our schools and universities need to provide a decent education for all. Workers in rail and mail are fighting to protect their industries for future generations to use and work in.

As part of Youth Fight for Jobs we are campaigning for young people to join and get active in a trade union, to help transform our unions into spaces where young workers can lead struggles and become the next generation of trade union activists.

As the current strike wave shows, when workers organise, unite and fight together, we have enormous power. Imagine what almost seven million workers organised in trade unions across Britain could do to combat all the other miseries of capitalist society – like racism and sexism, inadequate housing, or the climate crisis.