The Socialist 5 June 2013 |
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Mass joblessness wrecks lives! Youth must fight for a future
Ian Pattison, Youth Fight for Jobs
Youth Fight for Jobs protest against Workfare in Stratford's Westfield shopping centre in London 25 February 2012, photo Senan (Click to enlarge)
In Sweden, where youth unemployment is 24%, riots have struck the capital Stockholm. Rage has exploded onto the streets following police repression and racism and decades of neoliberal attacks and privatisation in an increasingly unequal society.
Unemployment, at 12%, and youth unemployment, at 24%, have both reached a record high in the eurozone.
In Italy, 40% of youth are unemployed. In Spain, more than half of young people are out of work. Tragically in Greece, two thirds of youth are jobless, contributing to rapid rises in homelessness and suicides.
No one can deny this is a disaster for humanity. Europe is sinking under the weight of austerity.
One million young people are unemployed in Britain, with millions more now underemployed, in and out of work, facing terrible conditions, zero hour contracts, low pay, and barely enough income to survive.
Surely, then, it can only be promising that European Union leaders have been seeking a solution to mass youth unemployment?
Germany's pro-big business finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, starkly warned that if young people were made to pay for the crisis through further cuts, it would bring "revolution...on the very same day".
So what solutions do the EU leaders have? None.
Another forum, headed by former US president Bill Clinton, championed privatisation of education - and big profits for greedy private sector vultures - as their preferred option to somehow reducing unemployment.
Clearly young people will have to look elsewhere for ideas about how a decent future with jobs and education can be realised.
But Schaeuble is correct on one thing - the continued slaughter of jobs and the even further impoverishment of a section of workers and youth are making a whole generation angry.
Schaeuble, German chancellor Angela Merkel, and their super-rich counterparts in Britain don't have to look far for the consequences of their vicious cuts policies.
Thousands have taken to the streets in Turkey, which exploded following police brutality.
Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) offers an effective way for angry young people to organise themselves in action.
YFJ explains that the trade unions could provide a powerful attraction to young people if they took decisive action on pay, jobs and apprenticeships with real jobs.
The call for a 24-hour general strike against austerity would give an immediate authority to the trade unions among young people who at this stage can often see no hope for their future.
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Create real jobs!
- A record 370,000 young people applied to the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) from February to April this year - an average of 11.31 applicants for every vacancy
- 41 young people are applying for every plumbing apprenticeship
- Youth Fight for Jobs calls for a massive government scheme to create socially useful jobs and apprenticeships which pay at least the minimum wage (with no youth exemptions) and offer guaranteed jobs at the end
- All work-for-your dole schemes should be scrapped. Unemployed people should not be used as slave labour. If a job needs doing, someone should be employed for a proper wage to do it
- Instead of bankster bailouts and tax cuts for the rich, we need huge investment in public services and the nationalisation of companies threatening closure, under democratic control