Young Socialists day of action – 12 September

photo Paul Mattsson

photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Jeremy Davidson, Hull Socialist Party

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on global capitalism and exposed the flaws of the system.

In Britain, the already struggling economy has now entered recession, with a sharp rise in unemployment and economic downturn hitting the poorest. Mass job losses are taking place, and will be spurred on when the furlough scheme ends in October.

Some of the worst affected sectors are service, retail, and hospitality, where the workforce is dominated by young people. Unemployment among 18-24 year olds could hit one million by the end of the year.

Following a decade of brutal austerity cuts – attacks on further education, a dwindling number of decent apprenticeships, lack of job security, and the rise of precarious employment – this crisis is a further blow to young people’s futures.

The largest 100 companies in Britain have doubled their wealth in ten years. Now, the greedy fat cats are trying to protect their vast profits by making young, working-class people pay for this crisis. We need to fight back.

Young Socialists and Youth Fight for Jobs are campaigning for the Trade Union Congress (TUC) – representing six million workers – to set up an emergency ‘council of war’ to plan how the unions can campaign to defend jobs.

The TUC should demand the government invest to create socially useful jobs on wages we can live on, and guarantee real training and apprenticeships for the skills young workers need, with a job at the end. Those schemes should be democratically controlled by the trade unions.

Young people have already taken action to fight injustice and demand a better future. The inspirational Black Lives Matter (BLM) protestsers, which challenged systemic racism, were mainly youth. School and college students won an impressive victory, forcing the Tory government into a U-turn on exam results.

If the unions took a central role in fighting for young people’s futures, the militancy and determination of youth combined with the power of trade union organisation could succeed.