Anti-workfare protest in Bristol, 3.3.12

Anti-workfare protest in Bristol, 3.3.12   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Clegg’s ‘youth contract’ won’t create real, long-term jobs

Lib Dem tuition fee hiker, Nick Clegg, launched his long touted ‘Youth Contract’ today. Growing youth unemployment has been a feature of the failed policies of this out of touch Con-Dem government.

The government is being forced to recognise that youth unemployment is a dire and potentially explosive problem.

Where youth unemployment is at its highest, in Spain and Greece, we’ve seen mass movements involving millions of young people demanding jobs, education, a home and a future.

In Tunisia and Egypt young people have been involved in leading revolutions against the corrupt regimes.

So far in Britain, all of the government’s ‘jobs’ schemes have talked a lot about work experience and training but none of them have actually come anywhere near the levels of job creation necessary to address the problem.

In fact, in many cases they have only served to undermine the wages of existing workers. It’s laughable that the government can talk about schemes to get young unemployed people back to work, when hundreds of thousands of jobs are being slashed in the public and private sector as a result of their cuts.

We need job creation, not job destruction. There is plenty of work that needs doing in society, and young people want to work.

Youth services and mental health services, along with jobs of the skilled workers involved in them, have been slashed to pieces in the first round of devastating council cuts.

Contracts for the rich

The Youth Contract will offer fat cat bosses up to £2,275 towards the first six months of a wage as an “incentive” if they take a young person on.

Dinners for Tory donors and tax cuts for the rich have reinforced the view that the Con-Dems are governed by the rich, for the rich.

Big businesses signing up to the Youth Contract don’t care about getting young people into work, they want to boost their mighty profits.

They are also fearful of a continuation of the protests against the work programme schemes that have taken up high-street chains like Tesco for taking on ‘slave labour’ workfare placements.

Neither Nick Clegg, big business, nor their other rich friends in government have any credible solution to youth unemployment, because they are tied to the free market and the making of profits no matter what the cost and effects on young people.

Nick Clegg says: “Big business has a huge role to play in getting young people into work”. There is £731 billion sitting in the banks of big businesses, but they’re refusing to invest in jobs or services whilst being given young people to work for free or on low wages, with no guaranteed job at the end of the workplace placement.

If they were serious about helping unemployment they would put that money into creating real, long-term jobs for young people.

It is working people that have created this huge wealth in society, if these companies won’t invest, they should be nationalised and run to meet the needs of workers and young people. We all know the solution to mass unemployment, create jobs!

Ian Pattison, Youth Fight for Jobs

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 2 April 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.