We demand a future!
By Paddy Meehan, Socialist Youth
IN NOVEMBER, it was announced that 15% of young people were officially unemployed. This figure, which does not include those on training schemes, will have undoubtedly risen since then with the massacre of job losses tearing through the retail sector. This summer, thousands of school and university students will be leaving education to look for work that simply isn’t there. Every week, announcements of factory and retail closures like Zavvi and Woolworths are dumping hundreds of young people onto the dole.
When the bankers and speculators were under threat, the government forked out billions of pounds to bail them out of their own mess. Why is it when young people, who didn’t cause this crisis, are losing their jobs the Assembly and the British government sit back and do nothing?
The answer is they don’t care about young workers. And why would they? They don’t live on the same wages or work in poor conditions like we do. In a recent Assembly debate, politicians lamented the fact that those recently made unemployed and signing on for a poverty payment of £57 a week, were costing an additional £1.6 million. It is these right-wing politicians though who are the real leeches.
MLAs receive a minimum salary of £43,000, but most earn a lot more through expenses and double-jobbing. First Minister Peter Robinson who together with his wife Iris and employment of family members pocket over £350,000 a year from the public purse!
We are being told by the rich and right-wing politicians we have to pay for the economic collapse. Socialist Youth says we shouldn’t pay for their crisis. Instead we say that everyone should be entitled to a decent job or to continue education if they wish. This could be implemented immediately if there was the political will to do so.
At the minute there are thousands of construction apprentices who can’t finish their training. Building suppliers are going bankrupt because of the bursting of the property bubble. Yet 34,000 people are on the housing waiting list in Northern Ireland. The private sector is incapable of meeting the housing needs because there is no profit to be made. But tens of thousands of jobs could be created if major investment was used to finance a massive programme of social housing, not to make a profit, but to provide for people’s needs. Thousands more young people with skills in caring, retail, design, social work and ICT cannot get a job even though there is a huge need for these services.
The capitalist politicians in the Assembly and Westminster have no solutions – young people need to take to the streets and demand the right to a job. We refuse to pay for the bosses’ crisis and accept a future of long-term unemployment. Young people need to get organised and fight for the right to a decent job with decent wages. We demand a future, not a life on the dole. Join our campaign for jobs. Distribute leaflets at school, college, work, and in your community. Get in touch to find out more about our campaign and get involved.
Socialist Youth demands:
The right to a decent job for all
- £8 minimum wage as a step towards a living wage. No youth exemptions
- For free proper training linked to decent jobs
- Free education for all – scrap tuition fees
- Share out the work. For a 35 hour working week with no loss in pay
- Capitalism doesn’t work. For a socialist planned economy to cater for peoples needs, not to enrich a tiny elit