By Laura Fitzgerald
THE SLASHING of the dole for under 20s to a miserable €100 a week is scandalous. How is anyone meant to survive on €100 a week? It just isn’t possible and on top of this rent allowance is also being cut. This vicious cutback sums up what this government thinks of young people and it is a warning to all workers and unemployed that all social welfare payments are now under the threat of being cut.
It’s the government’s and the bosses’ fault there are no jobs, yet while they hand billions more to the banks and the property developers to bail them out they are forcing young people to live on €100 a week!
The crisis in capitalism and the government’s policies have created mass unemployment. Over 60,000 20-24 year olds and more than 15,000 under 20 year olds are unemployed. And it is set to get worse. Unemployment is predicted to hit 500,000 by the end of this year and increasingly it will be young people, school and college leavers who will be signing on because there just isn’t any work for them.
On top of this the government will shortly announce its plans to re-introduce third level fees which will block access to ITs and universities for thousands of young people and swell the dole queues even more.
Every single time a company such as Dell, Waterford Crystal, SR Technics or Dublin Bus decides to shut down or shed jobs, that’s less jobs for young people. The government’s lack of action is therefore assisting this downward spiral towards depression-like mass unemployment.
We must force them to act! Job-shedding companies should be nationalised to save all the jobs. The thousands of apprentices who have been sacked since the collapse of construction should be employed on proper wages by the state, allowing them to qualify and finish their time building schools, hospitals and other infrastructure that there is clearly a need for.
Brian Lenihan has justified his cut to the dole by saying that it will encourage young people to go into training. This should be completely rejected. Entitlement to social welfare payments should be a right. If there are no jobs then there is an obligation on the state to provide people with a living income. The government has slashed the dole for new claimants under 20s to save money – there aren’t enough training schemes for all of the young unemployed and even when they finish these schemes for most of them there still won’t be any jobs.
Similarly, the Labour Party is advocating that young people who can’t find work should be put on “apprentice schemes”. This is effectively justifying putting young people into a workplace on slave-labour wages, and will undermine the wages and conditions of all workers.
Everyone deserves a decent job on proper wages, or else an income that they can live on. If further training or re-training is required, young people should be given living grants to attend such courses.
This vicious attack on unemployed 18-20 year olds must be fought against by all young people. The government is threatening all our futures through mass unemployment and third level fees. Defeating this scrooge-like victimisation of unemployed young people can be the first step towards building a powerful movement of young people to fight for jobs.
Contact us today to get involved and fight for a future!
– Scrap the cut to dole for under 20 year olds
– No means-testing of parents’ income for under 25s who need social welfare payments
– Jobs not dole – for a guaranteed job for all and for quality training linked to decent jobs
– For a €12 an hour minimum wage with no youth exemptions
– Open up education for all – for free education – no to fees – grants for students and trainees aged 16 and over and a guaranteed job after college/ school