Category Archives: Campaigns

Fast Food Rights and Youth Fight for Jobs protests across the country – Thursday 28th August and other dates!

Join us to show solidarity with fast food workers in the USA, and to fight for a £10/hr living wage and an end to zero-hour contracts hers in Britain.

If your protest isn’t included here, feel free to email us at youthfightforjobs@gmail.com

Day of Action – Thursday 28th August

Bradford
12noon

Kirkgate
McDonalds

Chester
12noon
Town Hall Square in city centre
McDonalds

Glasgow
4pm – 6pm
Argyle Street
McDonalds

Grimsby
12noon
Victoria Street
Freshney Place

Huddersfield
12noon
Kirkgate
McDonalds

Leeds
5pm
Briggate
McDonalds

Leicester
5.30pm

Market Street
McDonalds

Liverpool
12noon
Pedestrianised crossroads of Lord Street / Paradise Street / Church Street
McDonalds

London
Meet at at Brixton tube at 1pm to target McDonalds with protests

Manchester
5.30 PM
Piccadilly Gardens

Mansfield
4.30pm

West Gate
McDonalds

Newcastle
12pm – 2pm
Northumberland Street
McDonalds

Peterborough
4pm

town centre McDonalds

Pontefract
12noon
meet at the Buttercross

Sheffield
12noon
Fargate
McDonalds

Wakefield
2pm
Kirkgate
McDonalds  

York
4.30pm-6:30pm
Blake Street
McDonalds

plus here are some protests on other days

Saturday 23rd August
Carlisle
International Market

Saturday 30th August
Barnsley
12noon

KFC

Saturday 30th August
Derby

1pm
St Peter’s Street
McDonalds

Saturday 30th August
Nottingham

11am
St Peter’s Square, Lister Gate
McDonalds

Interview with Ian Hodson, Bakers’ Union President

In 2013 the Bakers Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU), along with Youth Fight for Jobs and others, initiated the Fast Food Rights campaign to fight for decent pay, terms and conditions for fast food workers. This came after the union’s successful strike against zero-hour contracts at the Hovis Factory in Wigan.
In the run up to the union’s annual national conference on 8 to 12 June BFAWU president Ian Hodson spoke to Claire Laker-Mansfield from Youth Fight for Jobs.

 Why did BFAWU initiate Fast Food Rights?

It was the issue of zero-hour contracts and the success we had at Hovis. The bosses see McDonalds, Subway, etc, as a great testing ground for the type of working conditions our members have been subject to in bread factories and sweet factories. All of those practices that have been in place for a long time in fast food are filtering through into everyday employment practices in our organised workplaces.

We saw this as an opportunity to help people who aren’t currently involved with a trade union, who don’t believe they have any rights. By joining together with the different elements – not just a trade union campaign but a community campaign and a political campaign – we can stop this race to the bottom.

Research shows that 80% of people who go into a workplace that has never been organised by a trade union will never join a trade union. We’re hoping this campaign will bring an understanding to people who work in this industry that there is an alternative to what they get told on a day-to-day basis. By doing the campaign we’re going to places we’ve never been – we normally organise outside factories, we don’t normally go on the high streets.

 

What were the lessons from the Hovis dispute?

It demonstrated that if people stand and fight together, they can win. The company tried all sorts of tactics – threats of closure, £1,000 to cross the picket line, bringing people in to intimidate the pickets.

But the workers said no, we’re not going to be intimidated, we’re not going to take the cash, we’re going to stand here until you recognise people should be treated fairly.

How have you been able to win people to the union in places like Greggs?

The first thing we did was organise the bakeries and then through our negotiations with the company we said we want access to the shops as well.

We’ve been able to represent a number of shop workers and demonstrate that by being in a union they can get better terms and conditions – they get a pay increase each year, they’re not on minimum wage, they don’t have to put up with zero-hour contracts, or accept that they’re not entitled to holiday pay.

What sort of demands should Fast Food Rights be making of politicians and the government?

Legislation that allows an employer to treat people like second class citizens or like they’re not important needs to be changed.

It can’t be right that politicians sit in the Houses of Parliament and debate about improving employment by making people more vulnerable, more insecure and worse paid. Politicians have a duty to actually start serving the electorate, not just the people who buy their dinners.

Since BFAWU’s founding in 1847 we’ve had a commitment to a living wage. One of the things this campaign has highlighted to me is that the youth rate needs to be scrapped.

What has inspired you to develop the campaign?

Something that’s really inspired me is what’s happening in places where people have been brave enough to actually put a figure on the minimum wage – like $15 in the US. We don’t currently have a figure as a trade union but I’m going to try and put one at our upcoming conference.

I think we need to give working class people a clear understanding of what our trade union is fighting for – a £10 figure, why shouldn’t working people get £10 an hour?

Even if they get the current living wage, it would still only give them enough to maybe afford to throw their children a party and maybe afford to pay for a holiday. I don’t want people to ‘maybe’ afford, I want them to be able to.

I went over and attended the International Union of Foodworkers conference in New York and listened to some of the McDonalds workers about why they decided to take action. One of them was a single mother, the other was a 22 year old young woman. I asked her what she would say to other young people about why they should join a union or take action.

She said: “because it’s all been given away and we’ve got to take it back. If we’re going to get out of the poverty we’re living in, so that I don’t have to make a choice between whether I catch a bus to work or I’m able to eat, then the only way to do it is to organise”. It was so inspiring!

Unemployment Kills

The heart-breaking story of 20 year old Martin Hadfield, who tragically took his own life following months struggling to find work, is a shocking reminder of the real lives broken by a system that offers so many so little hope.

The human cost of nearly one million young people unemployed can never be fully expressed in the form of cold numbers. As Martin’s stepdad eloquently put it: “He was never a statistic to us”.

Britain’s out of work youth are real people, with real hopes and dreams. Each of them is an individual with unique potential – with talents, skills and energy they’re desperate to use. It is both a tragedy and an outrage that so much of what this generation has to offer is being criminally laid to waste.

Just like for the vast majority of those who find themselves out of work, laziness was never a factor in Martin failing to find a job. A trained gardener, he became unemployed when the firm he worked for downsized.

Next he found himself faced with the demoralising task of sending out applications and CVs – only to be knocked back by rejections and employers who failed to even supply him with a courteous response.

For hundreds of thousands of young people this familiar process is no doubt made even more difficult by smug, privileged pro-capitalist politicians joining the right-wing press in a relentless campaign of myth-making about unemployed ‘scroungers’. Perhaps this kind of rhetoric played a part in Martin’s decision not to claim any benefits while out of work.

This human tragedy was the fault of an inhuman capitalist system. But any economic system which sees such vast accumulation of wealth for a few, while it presides over the wasting of the skills and talents of so many young people, does not deserve its continued existence.

The solution to youth unemployment is not ever harsher and more punitive treatment of those who are out of work; it’s the creation of millions of secure, well-paid socially useful jobs – jobs that can provide the foundation for stable and happy lives for the next generation, as well as homes and services for those who need them.

Not one of the mainstream political parties currently offers us that. For young people facing unemployment – anger, frustration, stress and even despair can be normal responses to the bleak prospects austerity offers. But a concerted fightback, by young people working alongside trade unionists, socialists and other campaigners, can challenge the cuts consensus and help secure a decent future for the ‘99%’.

Youth Fight for Jobs is helping to build this fight and to organise unemployed young people to demand their right to work. We say not one single young person should be left on the scrap heap. The cold cruelty of the Con-Dems leaves many thousands facing despair. But hope can come in fighting to change society.

PRESS RELEASE: Protests taking place across the country as part of ‘fast food rights’ campaign

Protesters involved in the ‘Fast Food Rights’ coalition are taking part in over 25 protests across the country this Saturday, 29 March as part of a newly launched campaign. The protesters are demanding a living wage for all workers and an end to the use of zero-hour contracts. Fast Food outlets including McDonalds , Costa and Burger King will all be targeted by protesters who will also be signing workers up to the Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU), who initiated the Fast Food Rights campaign.

Ian Pattison, spokesperson for Youth Fight for Jobs said

‘This day of action is part of building a campaign against the low-pay in security and exploitation taking place across the fast food industry at the present time. We are fighting for decent jobs – with guaranteed hours, a living wage and trade union rights. These multi-billion pound companies are making sky high profits by super-exploiting workers – especially young workers. But this campaign is building the fightback.’

Protests are taking place in towns and cities all over Britain.

A full list can be found here:

www.youthfightforjobs.com

London events are as follows:

11 AM – Lewisham protest – meet by Lewisham Clock Tower

1.30 PM – meet at Leicester Square McDonald’s, on the corner of Swiss Court and Whitcomb Street

5 PM – Lewisham Public Meeting – Glass Mill Leisure Centre, 41 Loampit Vale, London, SE13 7FT

Protests across North West for Youth Fight for Jobs and Fast Food Right day of action – Saturday 29th March

Youth Fight for Jobs and Fast Food Rights protests in the North West - 29/03/14

Youth Fight for Jobs and Fast Food Rights protests in the North West - 29/03/14

You can see a full list of the protests across the country here http://www.youthfightforjobs.com/

Full list of protests – Saturday 29th March

Protest March 29th!

Check out a full list of Saturday’s protest below!

Youth Fight for Jobs & Fast Food Rights Day of Action

Scrap Zero-Hour Contracts
A living wage of £10 a hour
Join a union

List of events (more to follow)

London

11 AM – Lewisham protest – meet by the Clock Tower

1.30PM – Leicester Square leafleting

5PM – Lewisham Public Meeting – Glass Mill Leisure Centre, 41 Loampit Vale, London, SE13 7FT

Shirebrook

11AM – Assemble at – Shirebrook Market Place to Target Sports Direct HQ – NG20 8AA

Birmingham

1PM – outside Primark, New Street

Brighton

12 noon – outside McDonald’s in Western Road, Brighton

Bristol

12 Noon – YFJ/ FFR Super-Stall – Meet outside BHS, Broadmead, BS1 3HB

Bolton

11AM – Victoria Square, town centre

Canterbury

11AM – Meet by Café Rouge in Canterbury city centre

Cardiff

11AM – Queen Street, Nye Bevan’s statue targeting BK, FootLocker and Costa

Carlisle

11AM – Scotch Street city centre

Chester

11AM – Chester Cross, town centre

Coventry

12 noon – Shelton Square (by Tesco in Coventry City Centre), CV1 1DG

Exeter

12 noon – Exeter High Street

Glasgow

12 noon at Sauchiehall Street McDonald’s

Huddersfield

Coming soon!

Leeds

1pm outside Briggate/Boar Lane McDonalds

Leicester

Meet 11am, the Clock Tower, Leicester Town Centre

Lincoln

12 noon – outside McDonald’s in the Cornhill, Lincoln

Liverpool

12 noon – Sports Direct – Parker Street, L1 1DJ

Manchester

11AM – Sports Direct, Market Street, M1 1PW

Newcastle

12 noon – Northumberland Street Burger King

Rochdale

12 noon- Yorkshire Street, town centre

Sheffield

11AM – top of Fargate

Southampton

11AM  – Meet outside the West Quay Shopping Centre, Above Bar Street

St Helens

11AM – Church Square, town centre

Swansea

2pm – Meet outside McDonalds on Castle Square

Wakefield

10 AM – Outside McDonalds on Kirkgate

Wigan

2pm - Standishgate, town centre

Esther McVey is out of touch!

Tory (un)employment minister Esther McVey has said the problem with young people today is that we expect too much, none of us are willing to take entry level jobs. McVey has suggested we go and work at Costa Coffee. Again, the Tories have proven how out of touch they are, shielded from the austerity measures they’re implementing. Before being given her current post, McVey was previoulsy Tory minister for disbaled people, responsible for removing DLA (Disability Living Allowance) and drastically cuting benefits for disabled people.

Below you can see an article by Nottingham Youth Fight for Jobs from February 2013 when 1900 people applied for just 8 jobs at a Costa Coffee branch.

A small and new branch of Costa Coffee in Mapperley, Nottingham featured in national news headlines yesterday when around 1,900 people applied for just 8 vacancies. The area manager for the East Midlands was shocked by the number of applications, particularly as many of them were by university graduates including nursing graduates.

Youth Fight for Jobs activists in Nottingham have been pointing out for the last few years the lack of jobs available in the area. In some places in Nottinghamshire, there are at least 15 job seekers for every vacancy. This example shows that young people are willing to work, even in minimum wage jobs, despite what government ministers like Iain Duncan Smith might say. The problem is that there aren’t enough jobs out there.

Whilst there is plenty of socially useful jobs that could be done, such as nursing in the NHS, young people with skills are being forced into part-time and temporary jobs.

Some of the people applying had previously lost their jobs from chains that have gone into administration such as HMV. The government’s claim that the private sector will ‘pick up the slack’ is proving again and again to be a lie. Youth Fight for Jobs demands that the government creates decent jobs with decent pay for the millions of young people who are unemployed or underemployed.

Today, the unemployment figures will again show the level of misery being inflicted on ordinary people Britain as a result of the Con-Dem’s misery. Youth Fight for Jobs members in Nottingham will continue to campaign for a future for young people.

Rachel Reeves out does the ‘nasty’ party on welfare cuts

Leading trade unionists angrily condemned Rachel Reeves when she became shadow work and pension’s secretary for Labour after she promised to be tougher than the Tories on welfare. Yesterday (Monday 20th January) Rachel Reeves fulfilled her promise.

Ian Pattison, Youth Fight for Jobs

Rachel Reeves is demanding unemployed people who failed a maths and English tests and refused further training would lose their benefits. The media and their friends in the main pro-cuts parties try to blame unemployment on workers lacking the skills. The reality is, there are just not enough jobs out there. Youth Fight for Jobs is in favour of supporting anyone develop their English and maths, but we don’t support cutting their benefits. With further welfare cuts proposed, Reeves and colleagues will be more than happy to do just that.

Reeves has suggested people finding themselves out of work after long-term employment should get a £120 windfall over a 6-week period. How £120 is supposed to make all the difference after your job is cut, Reeves hasn’t explained?

Reeves has said Labour’s welfare changes will not cost a penny. Most likely, she’ll find savings by cutting benefits for those of us who’ve never worked, even if we’re out of work through disability or illness.

Unemployment has vastly increased as the cuts and the economic crisis has destroyed jobs. The proposals announced by Rachel Reeves today will not reverse job destruction initiated by the Con-Dems. Rachel Reeves wants to create two-tiers of benefits – benefits that are already below what we can live on. Disabled people, who may have never worked, will be penalised. Young people from my generation, less likely to find work, and already entitled to lower benefits than the rest of the population, will be further ‘punished’ if Rachel Reeves’ plan goes through.

To stop the race to the bottom, Youth Fight for Jobs is working alongside the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) on a new campaign, ‘Fast Food Rights’. We’re holding a national day of action with protests at exploiting fast food chains on Saturday 15th February. Youth Fight for Jobs is also holding another wave of protests to scrap zero-hour contracts on Saturday 29th March.”

BFAWU bakers’ union ‘Fast Food Rights’ day of action – Saturday 15th February

http://fastfoodrights.wordpress.com/

Youth Fight for Jobs protests – Saturday 29th March

Organising fast food workers – Support ‘Fast Food Rights’

James Ivens, Youth Fight for Jobs London

Officials from bakers’ union BFAWU recently held a ‘fast food forum’ with campaigners from groups including Youth Fight for Jobs.

Labour left MP John McDonnell also spoke from the platform. The meeting at Parliament decided to target exploiting fast food chains.

The move comes after successful strike action against zero-hour contracts at bread maker Hovis and organising work at snack retailer Greggs.

The meeting discussed tactics and agreed a day of action on Saturday 15th February to launch a trade union recruitment campaign.

Youth Fight for Jobs supports this and has called a further day of action on zero-hour contracts on Saturday 29th March.

A young worker at Costa Coffee related his workplace experiences. Break rooms at the café chain carry posters with uplifting messages. “Smile or be fired.” A trade union would quickly wipe that smile off the boss’s face.

The fast food workforce is drawn from two main sources. Many are students so the campaign aims to approach student unions.

Most others are migrant workers. Chris Ford, General Secretary of the International Workers’ of Great Britain explained that his trade union had disproved the idea these workers are ‘unorganisable’ with several recent industrial victories.

Sick of your boss?

Helen Pattison, speaking for Youth Fight for Jobs, reported on the ‘Are you Sick of Your Boss?’ under-employment campaign.

Activists have had good results from entering high street shops and distributing material to staff while working.

Various speakers mentioned the Fast Food Forward campaign in the US. In particular the historic election victory of Socialist Alternative USA member, Kshama Sawant, winning more than 90,000 in Seattle, was praised.

The closing focus of discussion was the need to provide long-term support for struggle, not just publicity stunts.

Youth Fight for Jobs is planning to organise further meetings around the country with BFAWU branches and activists.

  • Wednesday 22 January: next fast food forum planning meeting at Parliament
  • Saturday 15 February: ‘Fast Food Rights’ day of action
  • Saturday 29 March: Youth Fight for Jobs day of action against zero-hour contracts

http://fastfoodrights.wordpress.com/

On November 5th, young workers say: Zero hours no way!

“Zero-hours no way, decent jobs and decent pay”, was the slogan shouted outside the bosses’ CBI headquarters in London on 5 November.

The protest, targeting an organisation which represents a whole host of zero-hour contract employers, was part of a national day of action organised by the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign.

Claire Laker-Mansfield, Youth Fight for Jobs

Around the country, protests and stunts were organised, particularly targeting the (now infamous) company Sports Direct, who employ over 90% of staff on zero-hour contracts.

In Shirebrook, Derbyshire, the headquarters of this multimillion pound company was hit with a protest. Stores were also targeted in Exeter, Chester and Manchester.

In Sheffield, Youth Fight for Jobs decided to highlight the tax-dodging Arcadia group’s treatment of their low-paid staff, with Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton’s and BHS all hit by ‘kamikaze leafleting’ , following a protest against zero-hour contracts at the CeX Entertainment exchange in the city.

These were lively and vibrant protests – in some cases crowds of shoppers gathered around to listen to speeches, sign petitions and even join in with some chanting.

At CBI HQ protesters attempted to occupy the offices but were prevented by the police and security guards.

At many of the shops hit by protests a visible nervousness was present among store managers, who often sent security to stand guard at the shop.

And given the anger and frustration that exists among low-paid zero-hour workers, it’s no wonder!

As well as organising this protest day, Youth Fight for Jobs also took part in a number of the People’s Assembly ‘burn austerity’ events.

There, we helped liven things up, bringing megaphones and getting some chanting going on.

Youth Fight for Jobs now plans to continue to escalate the campaign against zero-hour contracts and low-paid insecure work through the ‘Are you Sick of your Boss?’ initiative.

Unionised Hovis workers have shown zero-hours can be beaten. Join Youth Fight for Jobs and get involved in the fightback today.