Category Archives: Campaigns

Zero-hour contract and minimum wage protesters take to the streets

Check out a list of the UK protests for the Global Day of Action – Wednesday 15th April below

On Wednesday 15th April, fast food and other low-paid workers in the USA will be taking part in what could be the biggest day of strikes, occupations and protests in their fight for a $15/hr minimum wage.

In Britain, the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign is working with the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) in the Fast Food Rights coalition to organise solidarity protests up and down the country. Wednesday’s protests will be part of a ‘Join a Union Day’. We’re encouraging unorganised workers to get organised, so we can reverse the tide of low pay and casual work.

We are campaigning to:

  • Raise the minimum wage to £10/hr for all, with no youth exemptions
  • Scrap zero-hour contracts


10:30am – Marble Arch McDonald’s
12pm – East Ham high street – contact 07540189052
12pm – Poplar College
5pm-6:30pm – Whitehall McDonald’s

5pm – St Martins in the The Bullring

5pm – Meet at Nye Bevan statue

6pm –  Broad Pavement McDonalds (next to market)

11am – Meet at the Godiva statue

12 noon–2pm Queen St Arcade McDonald’s in Northgate

12noon - McDonald’s (1200 Maryhill Road)
1:30pm - McDonald’s (489 Pollokshaws Road)
2:30pm - McDonald’s (Sauchiehall Sreet) then march to…
McDonald’s (209-215 Argyle Sreet, corner of Union Sreet)  from 4pm (ish) – 6pm

6pm – McDonald’s in the town centre

4:30pm – Lower Briggate McDonald’s

2pm– 6pm – Clock Tower McDonald’s, Church Gate

6pm – McDonalds on the corner of Church Street and Lord Street in the city centre – contact 07757207289

6pm - St Peter’s Gate McDonalds

6pm – city centre McDonald’s

12 noon – McDonald’s HQ and the McDonald’s next to it

Wednesday 15th April – 11:30am – High Street McDonald’s
Saturday 18th April – 11am – McDonald’s at bottom of Fargate followed by rally at 2pm in the United Reform Methodist Church on Norfolk Street with BFAWU general secretary Ronnie Draper

11.30am-2pm – West Quay McDonald’s
11.30am-2pm – Shirley McDonald’s

11am – McDonalds in Parliament Square, Hanley

6pm outside MacDonald’s on Castle Square.

We’ll also have protests in Chester, Huddersfield and Middlesborough on Wednesday 15th April, plus Grimsby on Wednesday 22nd April, as well in Barnsley on Thursday 23rd April (12 noon – Costa in Town Centre)

for more info contact Youth Fight for Jobs on, if your protest isn’t on here, please send it in!

Youth Fight for Jobs brand Miliband’s pledge ‘not good enough’

Global Day of Action – Wednesday 15th April

Miliband says he plans to put a ‘12 week limit’ on the use of zero hours contracts.  

Helen Pattison, former zero-hours contract worker, said:

“If Labour want young worker’s votes they need to do better than this. Clearly they’re feeling the pressure of campaigns like ours and the huge anger that exists at the scandal of zero-hour contracts.  But Miliband’s promise goes nowhere near far enough. This pledge does not ‘ban’ zero-hour contracts and could even lead to employers systematically firing and rehiring workers after a three month period – in reality adding to insecurity.  As someone who has experienced life on a zero-hour contract I know the feeling of stress and isolation these cause. But this policy will not solve the problem. Workers deserve guaranteed hours, trade union representation and full employment rights from day one. What’s more, we deserve a wage we can live on – I’d like to see Labour back the campaign to raise the minimum wage to £10 now – not £8 by 2020. And it would be good to see them actually backing trade unions putting up a fight over zero-hour contracts. That’s why I’ll be joining protests on 15 April as part of the ‘join a union day’.”

The day of action on 15 April is part of global protests taking place against low-pay and casual work. In Britain, Youth Fight for Jobs is working alongside the Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) as part of the Fast Food Rights coalition. On 15 April actions will take place across the country as part of a ‘join a union day’ aimed at helping to encourage unorganised workers to get organised to fight for a better deal. Fast Food Rights demands the scrapping of zero-hour contracts, a £10 an hour minimum wage without youth exemptions and full trade union rights for all workers.

Newcastle Fast Food Rights public meeting – £10/hr animation launch – Thursday 19th February

Thursday 19th February will launch the Fast Food Rights £10/hr animation at a Newcastle public meeting, part of the campaign to raise the minimum wage. BFAWU (Bakers’ Union) President Ian Hodson will speak alongside local Youth Fight for Jobs supporter Paul Phillips. The full list of speakers includes;

Ian Hodson – Bakers, Food, and Allied Workers’ Union President

Beth Farhat – TUC Regional Secretary

Dave Anderson MP

Tim Roach – GMB trade union

Paul Phillips – Youth Fight for Jobs

Fast Food Rights public meeting – Newcastle
Thursday 19th February
TUC Commercial House

5th Floor
Pilgrim Street

Join the facebook event and share it! 

Youth Fight for Jobs were out in Newcastle for a day of action with Fast Food Rights and the Bakers’ Union, continuing the campaign to raise the minimum wage to £10/hr, on Saturday 14th February.

Tory workfare and Youth Fight for Jobs in the news!

Sick Tory plans to cut benefits for young people and force them onto unpaid workfare schemes were met with an angry response yesterday. Lots of people wanted to hear what Youth Fight for Jobs had to say in opposition.

Claire Laker-Mansfield on Sky News (part 1)

Claire Laker-Mansfield on Sky News (part 2)

Russia Today

Short clip of Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs regional organiser Iain Dalton on BCB Bradford radio – 1 min 15 secs in

Youth Fight for Jobs condemns new Tory workfare plans

Youth Fight for Jobs/Claire Laker-Mansfield on Sky News

Youth Fight for Jobs/Claire Laker-Mansfield on Sky News

The Youth Fight for Jobs campaign condemns Conservative plans to cut benefits and extend workfare for young people. The Tories would like to see thousands of 18-21 year olds stripped of the ability to claim JSA and forced to carry out 30 hours of unpaid work every week in exchange for a ‘youth allowance’. This is equivalent to a £1.91 hourly wage.

Claire Laker-Mansfield, from Youth Fight for Jobs, said:

“The Tories are attempting to shift blame away from their failed austerity policies, and onto young unemployed people who have done nothing wrong. The real problem is a lack of available jobs. There are currently around 4 people chasing every vacancy. Meanwhile, many of the jobs that are available offer only poverty pay and insecure zero-hour contracts.

Workfare will not solve unemployment – in fact, we believe it exacerbates the problem. Why employ someone in a permanent post with decent pay and proper contract, when you can get somebody from the Jobcentre to for work for free? Recent figures have shown more than 70% of those placed on the existing Work Programme remained out-of-work a year later.

Rather than creating real jobs for the next generation, the Tories have more of an eye on looking after the profits of their tax dodging donors. The government should be warned that it was policies like these that contributed to the rise of Syriza in Greece – a revolt against austerity”

Check out the video of Claire on Sky News and more of Claire on Sky plus Russia Today and Bradford BCB radio (1 min 15 secs in) - PLEASE SHARE!

Tweets on our Sky News interview:

Stand Up Be Counted @SkySUBC
.@youthfight4jobs says the PM should focus on creating more jobs to let young people live a “dignified existence”

 Ian Hodson @IanBFAWU
@helenpattison91@FastfoodRights@youthfight4jobs fantastic interview voice of ypung people so badly needed solidarity

 Hungry for Justice @FastfoodRights
@youthfight4jobs we think you are great you are doing a fantastic job in giving young people a voice solidarity #realjobs #£10now

 Martin Powell-Davies @MPDNUT
@SkySUBC@youthfight4jobs Refreshing change to hear the wealthy tax avoiders rightly getting the something-for-nothing label.

 Ian Hodson @IanBFAWU
@youthfight4jobs well done Claire for highlighting the exploitation of young people #TimeForChange#hungryforjustice #£10now

 Jessica Carpani @JessicaCarpani
Claire, I couldn’t have said it better myself. #AbsoluteJoke@youthfight4jobs “modern day slavery” @SkySUBC

Stand Up Be Counted @SkySUBC
.@youthfight4jobs says the PM should focus on creating more jobs to let young people live a “dignified existence”

Sports Direct: Pressure mounts on zero-hour contracts

Sports Direct, notorious for its widespread use of zero-hour employment contracts, has been forced to make clear in job adverts what its workers legal rights are. Although these ‘zero-hour’ jobs do any guarantee any work whatsoever, Sports Direct employees do qualify for statutory sick and holiday pay.

Ian Pattison, Youth Fight for Jobs

The company, owned by billionaire Mike Ashley, agreed to this change in an ‘out of court’ settlement after a former worker was due to take Sports Direct to an employment tribunal over its abuse of zero-hour contracts.

However, the company is not scrapping zero-hours – under which nearly 90% of its staff are employed – so the fight to end this casual employment practice goes on.

Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ), which has targeted Sports Direct with protests up and down the country over the last year, will continue to fight for permanent, full-time jobs on a living wage and for trade union rights – the best antidote to exploitation in the workplace.

Zero-hour contracts destroy jobs

David Cameron, George Osborne, and other leading millionaire Tories are too confused to explain how unemployment is down at the same time that wages are falling. But what the millionaires can’t add up is obvious to the millions who have been suffering under brutal austerity and rising use of zero-hour contracts for years. All the main political parties have defended the use of zero-hour contracts, and refused to have them banned.

Youth Fight for Jobs works closely with the Bakers, Food, and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) in the Fast Food Rights campaign. Fast Food Rights next big protest will be Friday 21st November (2 days after students will march for free education) as we lobby Parliament when they discuss zero-hour contracts. Zero-hour contracts must be scrapped, and all workers deserve a living wage of at least £10/hr.

Fast Food Rights protest
Friday 21st November
Parliament, Old Palace Yard

For more info contact

If you would like to send us an anonymous story about what it’s like in your workplace, please email us at

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

Day of Action – Thursday 28th August



Town Hall Square in city centre

4pm – 6pm
Argyle Street

Victoria Street
Freshney Place




Market Street

Pedestrianised crossroads of Lord Street / Paradise Street / Church Street

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

5.30 PM
Piccadilly Gardens


West Gate

12pm – 2pm
Northumberland Street


town centre McDonalds

meet at the Buttercross



Blake Street

plus here are some protests on other days

Saturday 23rd August
International Market

Saturday 30th August


Saturday 30th August

St Peter’s Street

Saturday 30th August

St Peter’s Square, Lister Gate

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:

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