Category Archives: Scrap Uni Fees


The government’s education minister, Michael Gove has just announced plans to make school holidays shorter and  working days longer. His prized ARK academy chain already has a school day lasting from 8.30am until 4.30pm and summer holidays that are just 4 weeks long. Gove has even said half-terms ‘no longer make sense’.  If he gets his way we’ll hardly have any decent breaks at all! We have to stop him.

The government wants schools that teach students to be compliant – schools that stifle imagination rather than foster it. They want schools that leave pupils well prepared. But not well prepared to learn, grow and develop throughout their lives. Well prepared to accept the drudgery of low paid, insecure jobs that are all young people are currently offered. GCSE reforms will see teaching return to a style used 50 years ago. Now he wants a school year that emulates those used in dictatorial regimes like China.

But students and teachers don’t have to take this lying down. We have to fight back. We should start with protests and rallies, and if the government won’t listen we can organise strikes and student walk-outs. If we are organised and united with our teachers and other workers, we can stop this vicious, out of touch government of the rich in their tracks.

Lazy, workshy Tory Minister fails to wake-up in time to defend his own policy

Tory Business Minister, Matthew Hancock, is announcing his Traineeships scheme today, and was due to debate and defend his new flagship policy on ITV’s Daybreak, with Youth Fight for Jobs supporter, Ian Pattison.

Youth Fight for Jobs supporter, Ian Pattison, said, “Can you imagine my surprise when I discovered a minister whose government berates so-called ‘shirkers’, couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed to defend his own policy. Unfortunately, the Tory Business Minister, Matthew Hancock, overslept and missed our debate. If the Minister was a jobseeker, he could lose his benefits for up to 3 months for such an offence. Luckily, the Tory MP doesn’t have to worry about things like that, as I’m sure he’s more than happy with his meagre £97,000 salary, on top the £43,230 he claimed last year in expenses – a new personal record.”

“Hancock’s Traineeship scheme is the latest gimmick coming out of the Tories’ to disguise the fact they have failed to tackle the staggering problems of unemployment effecting young people. Hancock and his government are trying to shift the blame for youth unemployment away from them and their failed system and onto the unemployed.”

“Young people are not lazy. In fact, it is the Tories’ cuts agenda that is worsening the economic crisis, slashing jobs in the public and private sector. Jessops is the latest high-street chain to go bust; 2000 workers could lose their jobs. Research has revealed that it is harder to get an apprenticeship than get into Oxbridge. Hancock claims his Traineeships are a stepping stone to apprenticeships, but the whole point of an apprenticeship is secure people with the training they need for a job. Hancock’s scheme doesn’t create any new jobs, or even promise any apprenticeships. Hancock isn’t genuine about developing young people’s skills, he voted to increase university tuition fees to £9,000 a year, which alongside the scrapping of EMA, has priced a huge number of young people out gaining the skills they could use to secure a job.”

For more info please contact Ian on 020 8558 7947 or 07766585543.

Lobby the TUC on 11th December

YFJE is supporting the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN)  lobby of the TUC General Council when it meets on December 11th. It will assemble from 9.30am at Congress House in Great Russell Street.

NSSN national chair Rob Williams said, “Up to a thousand union activists came to our lobby of the TUC conference in Brighton in September to encourage delegates to vote for the POA motion which called on the TUC to consider the practicalities of organising a general strike against the brutal austerity offensive from this government of the rich. The motion was overwhelmingly passed and the idea of a 24 hour general strike dominated the magnificent demonstrations in London, Glasgow and Belfast on October 20th which saw over 150,000 march against the cuts. On that platform, Bob Crow RMT, Mark Serwotka PCS and Len McCluskey Unite called for this co-ordinated action across the public and private sectors. The incredible November 14th European-wide day of action against austerity saw general strikes in Greece, Spain and Portugal and strikes, protests and demonstrations throughout the continent. I spoke at the London protest and called on the TUC and the union leaders to name the day for a 24 hour general strike when they next meet together on December 11th.

The NSSN understands that this would need proper preparation and organisation with workplace and town hall meetings throughout the country explaining why this action is necessary in order to build maximum support for it as the start of the action needed to defeat the attacks that are raining down on us. Therefore, a date in the New Year or the first couple of months in 2012 would allow this but the main thing is to name the date now. We call on all our supporters and fellow trade unionists to come on the lobby and make your voice heard.”

Previous reports  from our Lobby of the TUC & Debate there  also see our weekly bulletins which have continued to raise the idea.

Updated RESOLUTION to use in the process.

Facebook invite:

Scottish Youth to March for Jobs, from Stirling Castle to Glasgow

Press Release for immediate use

Scottish Youth to March for Jobs, from Stirling Castle to Glasgow

From the 17th -20th October, unemployed youth, young trade unionists, students, school students and anti-cuts campaigners will be marching from Stirling Castle to Glasgow, against cuts to jobs, benefits and public services.

March Assembles for rally at Stirling Castle car park at 12pm Wednesday 17th October.

The march has been organised by the Youth Fight for Jobs Scotland (YFJS) campaign and the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Young Members Network.

It is sponsored and supported by trade union branches and organisations across Scotland. The march will conclude by joining the demonstration organised by the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) on Saturday 20th October in Glasgow city centre.

YFJS is holding a press conference for the March, at 6:30pm on Wednesday October 10, at the Glasgow City Unison office, 84 Bell Street. Marchers and supportive trade unionists will be speaking.

In response to George Osborne’s proposal to cut housing benefit for under 25’s,Ryan Stuart, young Unite member and chief steward of the march said  “We are marching to highlight the misery caused by austerity and offer young people a campaigning strategy, by uniting in mass struggle with the trade unions. The cut to housing benefit, Osborne is proposing, will cause mass homelessness of the most vulnerable youth in society. We call for all claimants to receive benefits that meet the cost of living and rent.  We hope to bring the spirit of the recreation of the Jarrow March, organised by Youth Fight for Jobs, last autumn which raised opposition to the cuts in the mass media. We have been inspired by struggles of workers and youth across Europe, such as the Spanish miners who marched on their capital, against job destruction.  I would appeal to young people to join us on the march, we hope to mobilise thousands for the STUC demonstration”

Luke Ivory, long term unemployed from Glasgow, “We are marching for an increase in public investment into a program of real job creation. Over  100,000 Scottish youth are out of work, we need public works and skilled apprenticeships. Instead of slave labour workfare, we demand jobs and training schemes paid at the living wage of £7.20 an hour. Apprenticeships are being introduced by the Scottish Government and local councils but they are low paid and temporary, with young people’s hopes being raised and then they are thrown back on the scrapheap. We demand guarantees of a job or further training on completion.

Leah Ganley , PCS Young Member “We are marching for an end to attacks on pensions. Increasing the retirement age to 68 is unfair on older workers and steals job opportunities for young people. We also need public investment into a program of home building, renovation and green technologies to provide work for the unemployed and affordable housing for the next generation.

Wayne Scott, Dundee University student, “We are marching for the reversal of cuts to education courses. We demand fully funded grants for all students at university and college”.

David Mundt, School Student marcher “We are marching for an end to school cuts and mergers. Future generations can’t pay for the mistakes of the bankers”

Contact marchers for interviews and more info on 07927342060,, Follow Twitter @YFJScotland, See Marchers blog at Visit the website

The March for Jobs and Public Services has been supported by: PCS Scotland, Glasgow City Unison, Edinburgh RMT No1, STUC, and the following PCS branches: SG Tayside, Motherwell Pensions, Dundee Pensions, Dundee HMRC, Saughton, Elgin Job Centre, Glasgow DSS, Passport Office, Kirkcaldy DSS, Highlands and Islands, Historic Scotland, West of Scotland MOD.


BREAKING NEWS: TUC vote 16 all on general strike motion!

It is our understanding that the POA presented a motion to the TUC general council calling on them to consider the practicalities of a general strike. The vote came out 16 in favour to 16 against. This underlines the importance of getting down to the National Shop Stewards Network lobby of the TUC in Brighton on Sunday. A show that members are willing to fight-back against austerity on Sunday could have a huge effect in tipping the balance within the TUC inb favour of the demand for a 24 hour general strike. Make sure you get to the lobby YOU COULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Assemble 1pm at The Level Park – Union Road, Brighton BN2.

Defend London Met’s international students

The UK Border Agency’s decision to revoke London Metropolitan’s licence to teach international students was cruel and calculated.  It threatens to wreck thousands of lives. Over 2,000 students currently midway through their courses face the prospect of enforced deportation. While a 60 day ‘grace period’ is given in order for students to attempt to transfer to other universities, the reality is for many (if not most) this will prove impossible. As well as the horrendous effect on current London Met students, those expecting to come to London to begin courses in September are also going to be hit. They will be unable to begin their studies as planned.

The unprecedented move to revoke this licence has sent shockwaves throughout the UK’s higher education system and has been met with fury and defiance by London Met’s staff and students. A protest held on 30 August saw dozens of students angrily demonstrate outside Downing Street. For the government this is an opportunity to appear ‘tough’ on immigration. For ordinary students, their futures are at stake.

This is not the first set of bad headlines to hit London Met in recent weeks. Just under a month ago the university’s management announced plans to privatise all so-called back room services. Everything other than teaching and the Vice-Chancellors’ office could be handed over to the profiteers. These private companies put making money ahead of the interests of staff and students.

The impact of management’s previous attempts to run London Met on the cheap can be seen. Without sufficient staffing levels, how can over stretched and underpaid workers be expected to comply with the government’ stringent requirements  for ‘student monitoring’?

While the university’s management now plead innocence, it is clear that their priorities have not been aligned with the needs of staff and students for some time. There is a strong possibility that London Met’s partnership with the private college London School of Business and Finance was a contributing factor in the UKBA’s recent decision. Clearly the licence issue cannot be separated form that of privatisation. The university’s management bear a substantial amount of responsibility for the dire situation the university now finds itself in. The revocation of this licence puts the entire future of the university in jeopardy. Closure is not off the cards.

This means fighting this draconian decision is absolutely crucial. Not only does it threaten thousands of London Met students, it sets a grim precedent for the future. As this is the first publicly funded institution to have its licence revoked, it marks a new and changing attitude towards international students. University managements and the government have long seen those who come to study from outside the EU as lucrative ‘cash cows’ who they charge exorbitant fees.

This emphasises the need for those opposed to what the government is doing to argue for education that is fully funded, publicly owned and universally free at all levels – international students included.  International students should not be treated as cash cows one day and marched home the next, all at the whim of politicians representing the 1%.

But new government targets to drastically reduce the number of people entering the country mean international students are now seen as an irritating block on them lowering net migration figures. If the government get away with this unchallenged, it is likely that London Met students will not be the last to face this outrageous treatment.

Fighting this is therefore given an added urgency. While we must demand an immediate reversal of the decision to ban international students from London Met, at the very least an amnesty for current students, to allow them to complete their studies, should be offered.

This campaign should be a top priority for the National Union of Students. Writing in The Guardian, NUS president Liam Burns correctly expressed opposition to the decision, but failed to offer any leadership to students who want to fight for their right to study at London Met. Instead he pledged that NUS would help support students in transferring to other universities. While Socialist Students does not oppose NUS offering this service, this should not be a substitute for fighting to stop students being forced to change university or face deportation.

Unfortunately Liam Burns’ attitude has been mirrored in the way that the NUS officers have approached the campaign so far. In meetings discussing the course of the campaign they have argued for small scale actions involving only selected students rather than for mobilising maximum numbers to protests. In order to push back the government a mass campaign will need to be organised. This will need to involve students, university lecturers and support staff and members of the wider public if it is to be successful.

The trade unions at London Met have taken the initiative of calling a lobby of the UKBA on Wednesday 5th Sep at 1pm. We should aim for a big turn out at this event. NUS should take this up and mobilise for as many students as possible to attend. This should only be the start. It should be the beginning of a mass campaign, organised democratically, involving students, staff as well as the wider population. A mass fightback can force the government back, protect international students and save London Met from the government, management and profiteers currently steering it on a course to destruction.

YFJE Demands: An immediate amnesty for all current students No deportations No forced university transfers Reinstate London Met’s  international students ‘licence’ Stop all privatisation at London Met – support campus trade unions in their fight to defend shared services For education that is fully funded, publicly owned and universally free at all levels.

What can you do? Upcoming events: 1. The lobby of the Board of Governors to demand they take immediate action: 5-6pm, Monday 3rd Sep outside the main entrance of the Moorgate Building, City Campus.

2. Lobby of UKBA: outside the Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF on Wednesday 5th Sep, commencing at 1pm.

Join the Scottish March for Jobs and Public Services against Austerity

Stirling to Glasgow 17th-20th October

Over 100,000 16 – 24 year olds in Scotland are out of work. Colleges, schools and universities are being savaged by cuts. Thousands of young people are being exploited by big business through workfare schemes. The lack of affordable housing is condemning a generation, to living with their parents, renting from slum landlords, facing poverty and homelessness.
Politicians in Westminster, the Scottish Parliament and local councils implement cuts without regard to the effect on young people’s future.
Youth Fight for Jobs Scotland together with the PCS Young Members Network is organising a March for Jobs and Public Services against Austerity to highlight the conditions this lost generation face but also to put forward a fighting strategy of young people organising with the trade unions.
The march will begin at Stirling Castle on Wednesday 17th October and end by joining the mass demonstration called by the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) on Saturday 20th October in Glasgow. We aim to mobilise people for the STUC demonstration on route bringing people from workplaces, colleges and towns.
The March recreates a labour movement tradition going back to the 1920′s and 30′s of marches for jobs against mass unemployment, which is once again blight on Scotland’s communities.
In the autumn of 2011 the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign, with the support of the trade union movement, successfully recreated 1936 Jarrow March (a group of young people, including some from Scotland, marched from Jarrow to London, participating in hundreds of local marches, meetings, rallies and awareness raising social events on route). In every town the marchers passed through young people were inspired to get active and fight the cuts. The 2011 Jarrow March also raised the profile and relevance of the trade union movement amongst young people.
We believe a Scottish March for Jobs will have a similar impact and act as a rallying point for the struggle against the cuts in Scotland and as a mobilising tool for the important STUC demonstration on October 20th.
We aim to generate a massive amount of media publicity for the follow anti-austerity demands which we are sure will be supported by young people and trade unionists across Scotland.
We have been inspired by the struggle of the working class across Europe against austerity, the determination of the Greek people and the Spanish miners. We want to bring together the energy and anger of the lost generation seen in the Occupy and student movement together with the organising power of the trade unions.
If your young, unemployed, at school, college or university, in a workplace, unionised or unionised and angry contact us on the details below to become a marcher!
So far we have had support from PCS, Edinburgh RMT and the STUC. Add your union branch or campaign to the list of supporters. Contact us on the details below
To support our financial and organising appeal.
We are marching to give young people in Scotland a future. We want
· An increase in public investment into a program of real job creation to create at least 100,000 jobs in Scotland through public works and fairly paid skilled apprenticeships.
· For these jobs to pay, as a minimum, the Scottish living wage of £7.20 an hour.
· The reversal of cuts to college courses. Fully funded grants for all students at university and college.
· The scrapping of slave labour workfare. All training schemes to pay the living wage and guarantee work on completion.
·   The reversal of attacks on welfare and benefits. For all claimants to receive housing allowance that meets the cost of rents and JSA and other benefits to reflect the cost of living with no age exemptions.
·   Stop all attacks on pensions. Increasing the pension age to 68 is unfair on older workers and steals job opportunities from young people.
· Massive public investment into a program of home building, renovation and ‘green’ technologies to provide work for the unemployed and affordable, sustainable housing for the next generation.
Contact Youth Fight for Jobs Scotland for more details, get involved and support the march. Email Twitter follow YFJ Scotland

College elects campaigner to fight for students

Gareth Bromhall

The students of Pembrokeshire College have elected me as student governor, on a socialist platform, with three times the votes of my opponent.

As a member of Youth Fight for Education I will use this opportunity to improve the conditions of the students of the college. The Welsh Assembly has axed the bus subsidy that means students over 19 years old will now have to pay £15-£20 a week to get to college. Access to EMA, which is still available in Wales, is being restricted to those with the lowest household income.

We need to campaign against this, as part of a full programme to stop all cuts and bring back grants and EMA.


Welsh Labour opens door to college privatisation

Edmund Schluessel

UCU Wales Council (pc) and NUS (pc)

The Welsh Labour government intends to allow privatisation of Welsh colleges, according to a recent White Paper.

Trade unions hailed Labour’s 2010 promise to disincorporate the 14 colleges in Wales, a move which would have returned the institutions to public control. Incorporation of colleges in England and Wales in 1993 by the Tory UK government took colleges out of local authority control and made them independent institutions. It also led to the bankruptcy of 10% of colleges in the first four years, along with huge cutbacks in courses.

Welsh Labour has now gone back on that promise. Instead, the role of college principles and chief executives will be enshrined in law. Colleges would be forbidden from keeping reserves while being allowed to borrow money, and to dissolve themselves and hand over all their property to private companies.

While college students in Scotland are close to winning autonomous students’ unions, the White Paper makes no mention of college students’ voice.

The need for fighting FE unions will increase as the Welsh government plans to force further college mergers, meaning students would have to travel longer, at greater personal expense, to attend larger classes.

Labour also now proposes to cap the number of Welsh students receiving places in publicly funded universities. Cuts in student numbers of up to 20% have already been imposed on universities in Wales.

The paper admits the fee system in Wales is to blame but offers no alternative – despite both lecturers’ union UCU and the National Union of Students calling for the abolition of fees. (In September 2012 students from Wales will be charged up to £9,000 per year but get a grant of up to £5,525, alongside a loan to pay the rest of the charge.)

The Welsh Government now plan to create a new grant for students studying at private universities, of which there are none in Wales – yet. At the same time, some Welsh universities are losing all their public funding for teaching.

Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews and deputy minister for skills Jeff Cuthbert have both previously said that they oppose privatisation but consider themselves powerless to stop it. Their White Paper would surrender powers to stop privatisation, while keeping the direct responsibility for sell-offs out of ministers’ hands.

Students, education workers, and the broader community should mount a vigorous response to the proposed legislation.

Nottingham students fight-back

On Thursday 5th July, over 100 students from New College Nottingham (NCN) protested outside the High Pavement campus against attacks being made.

Armajit Basi, the principal of the college, is proposing to move students from two other campuses of NCN to High Pavement and then close the other sites. However, there is already a strain on resources and not enough teaching time – a situation which will worsen if these changes go ahead. There is also a proposal to increase the number of hours students will be in college to 9-5 every day. Many students work part-time in the evenings, which they rely on more now that EMA has been cut, so are concerned that this will effect their jobs.
Basi is one of the founders of entrepreneurship 4FE, a company which is trying to change the way colleges teach in order to promote ‘entrepreneurial skills’ and has used some of the money from the college to invest in this business.
Many people doing A-levels at NCN don’t want to be entrepreneurs! They feel that Basi is only concerned about making money and furthering his business.
Students have tried to make themselves heard by writing letters to Basi and held meetings with other members of the college management. Their concerns were not listened to so they decided to take strike action with a highly successful picket line.
Basi came out to confront the students at one point and was booed back inside the college after saying “the world has changed, we need to change with it.”
Placards included ‘No Change Needed’ and ’9-5 how can we make a living’ and chants on the 3 hour long protest were demanding that they were heard and also “give staff a voice” as many lecturers oppose the plans also. Great cheers erupted when some members of staff brought out pizza, flapjacks, tea and coffee for the students and congratulated them on what they had achieved.
I spoke to Andrew Truglia, a student at the college, who said:
“We’ve been trying to give our opinions on the changes but have been completely ignored. We’re here to get our voice across and show management that we are here to be listened to because we are an essential part of the college.
“We’re already under the recommended learning time for each subject, so it will be lowered further if more students are brought in. It’s just going to cause our education to be worse.
“I was gutted about EMA being cut and this just adds insult to injury.”
The students are now getting people to sign a petition against these attacks and hope to give it in at their next meeting with the management. They have said that if they still don’t listen they are prepared to take more action. They will be contacting students from the other campuses with the possibility of holding a joint demonstration.
Youth Fight for Jobs members in Nottingham supported the protest and got lots of signatures on our ‘Bring Back EMA’ petition which we aim to give in to the council in the autumn.
The protest was an example of how young people are willing to fight for their future and can organise successfully to put forward their demands. It should send a message to the NUS that they need to organise a serious campaign against cuts and privatisation to education.