Tag Archives: jobs

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.

Work Programme Doesn’t Work!

Edmund Schluessel, Youth Fight for Jobs & Education

Government ministers were forced to shamefacedly admit today that their “Work Programme” has been a failure, as fewer than one participant in twenty-five actually obtains secure employment through it according to a parliamentary review.

Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, called for the scheme to be abandoned. Unite supports Youth Fight for Jobs, which wants a programme of direct state investment in job creation — the only proven way to put people to work in socially useful jobs.

Labour MPs, meanwhile, lined up with the ConDems to endorse the programme in principle, with Barking MP Margaret Hodge calling the scheme “absolutely crucial”. The Work Programme gives companies public money in order to take unemployed people on as unpaid workers. Under such a scheme there is no reason for a business to actually create a job.

Particularly hard hit by the Work Programme are disabled people, thousands of whom have been thrown off benefits by government cuts or thrown out of work by the shutting down of government-backed employer Remploy. The report found that the disabled were being “parked” — a euphemism for “ignored” — by employers, who favoured hiring only those Work Programme participants who were easiest to place.

The government still intend to spend billions of pounds on the Work Programme. For the same price as their ineffective scheme of handouts to business, they could create over 50,000 jobs on a living wage — but with nearly three million, including one million young people, out of work in Britain and all main political parties committed to massive cuts, the problem is bigger than the Coalition or Labour are willing to handle.

Government loses court ruling – Stop ‘Worfare’ Now!

Court of Appeal rules against government on ‘workfare’

- We demand all ‘workfare’ schemes are shut down immediately.

Cait Reilly’s victory in the Court of Appeal today has dealt a massive blow to the government’s work programme. The court ruled that being forced to work in Poundland for nothing but unemployment benefits constituted a form of forced labour. This ruling confirms what anyone with any sense could see all along. Working without being paid a wage is the very definition of slave labour. A day’s pay for a day’s work is a basic right in any supposedly democratic society.

Youth Fight for Jobs and other campaigners against workfare can now use this ruling to push the government to respond by immediately shutting down all unpaid workfare schemes. These punitive, ineffective slave labour schemes in fact amount to a massive subsidy to big business. The likes of Poundland have been allowed thousands of hours of free labour courtesy of the taxpayer. As Cait’s experience has shown, workfare doesn’t create jobs, but is a disincentive to investing in secure, socially useful jobs that pay a living wage.

Their lawyers representing Cait and Jamieson Wilson an unemployed lorry driver from Nottingham, said ”all those people who have been sanctioned by having their jobseekers’ allowance withdrawn for non-compliance with the back-to-work schemes affected will be entitled to reclaim their benefits”.

Jumping through hoops for a job

Since graduating from university last year, I like many other young people have discovered the harsh reality of trying to find work in the Con-Dem’s Britain. The only work I’ve managed to find was a 2 month temporary job that paid minimum wage, apart from that I’ve been surviving on housing benefit and JSA, both of which are threatened with withdrawal or cuts because of the ramped up sanctions brought in recently.

Jack Poole, Brighton Youth Fight for Jobs

When my benefits were about to be cut I applied to a call centre through a recruitment agency in the hope I could at least earn a bit of money and stay in my current house. Call centres, particularly where I live, are often the only source of employment available to younger people like me, and in recent years have particularly seen an increase students working there in order to make ends meet.

Pay slightly above minimum wage is attractive, however this is offset by poor working conditions, and an incredibly insecure position; you can removed for any reason, at any time. The TUC trade unions have recently described call centre work as being dangerously similar to the conditions factory workers faced in the 19th century, with long heavily monitored hours, few breaks and cramped working areas.

When I arrived for my interview I was placed in a large waiting room with around 20 other people and was told to fill out an application form. Along with the usual questions, there were tick boxes asking what work you would be happy to take part in for the job. One of these asked if you would be happy to “Fund-raise for political parties and their campaigns”. Unwilling to work on behalf of the very people who were cutting my benefits, throwing thousands on the dole, and claiming thousands of pounds in their own lavish expenses, I did not tick this box!

The second part of the interview involved groups of four where we would take part in a mock telephone fund-raising scenario. This was used to cut down the groups of four to just two, so only half of the people who arrived for interview got past this stage; we were told this brutal process was necessary because of the “extremely high level of applicants”, they were “interviewing” around 50 people that day.

The people I got talking to in my group of four were a first year uni student who had to work to stay at university, a recently retired man who was being made to go back to work as he couldn’t afford his living costs, and a middle aged man who had recently been made redundant, in a cruel twist of irony, by another call centre! We were a perfect cross section of the people on the receiving end of the government’s austerity programme.

Anyone who “passed” the mock telephone step spoke to an interviewer for 5 minutes. We were waiting for well over an hour, while the interview process took less than ten minutes.

Following the interview I heard back from the recruitment agency that day, informing me I had not got the job, they gave no reason, but I suspect my refusal to take part in campaigns for political parties had something to do with it!

My choice was live on benefits which are under constant attack or work for the millionaires in government who are cutting jobs left, right, and centre – resulting in the huge levels of applicants for places like call centres.

This is no choice for young people, or any person in society. What is needed is a huge job creation programme. There is plenty of work out there that needs doing that could create thousands of well paid, secure jobs. However as long as the wealth remains in the hands of the 1%, the banks and their politician friends, this will not happen.

Young people need to fight back against these conditions and for a society that offers real opportunity, not a life on benefits or low pay. At the same time we need campaigns that organise call centre workers and others is insecure jobs. We deserve a decent level of security and pay in work, something that an effective trade union campaign could fight for.

Youth Fight for Jobs campaigns on all these issues and offers a chance for young people to not only get angry, but to get organised. This is how we can resist austerity and begin fighting back to improve our lives.

Tell us your experience in ‘Your Stories’, get in touch, youthfightforjobs@gmail.com

A day in the life… Young, low-paid, bullied and angry

Hannah Parker

If I’m opening the pub, I start at 9am. A managerial staff member should arrive at 8am to let us in but usually me and another kitchen worker wait for ten minutes.

So, management is over an hour late. We moan and I get the latest news of run-ins with them from the kitchen’s point of view. We get little chance to talk during the day.

I open the pub. Despite having over an hour’s worth of work and only 50 minutes to do it in, I am left alone downstairs. This is all the staff we’ll have until 3 or 4 o’clock.

Taking risks

I have had one customer grab my bum, one grab my arm and scream in my face, both these customers were made to leave.

But customers who whistle at me to serve them, are rude or shout are not asked to leave. The old manager wanted to make more money and would never refuse someone a drink.

I signed a risk assessment that says a person cannot be left alone in the pub during the day but managers often do leave, so I may serve around 30 people drinks and food on my own.

Last week the pub was especially busy so we did our evening jobs after closing. Management said we shouldn’t be paid for extra because we “should have made time earlier”.

Next day, a management sign said we had worked appallingly the night before. In future if evening jobs were not completed, we would have to stay until they were finished without pay.

We have two full-time kitchen staff and one part-time. When management refused to cover their breaks and workers couldn’t get a break until their shift was nearly over, they refused to come in for three days and we had to close the kitchen.

But these are non-unionised workers on short-term, zero hour contracts and most staff haven’t worked for the company a year.

They feel isolated and felt forced to take action independently. After that one member went to Citizen’s Advice (CAB) for advice. A manager later told me if he went to the CAB again, she would fire him.

One kitchen worker quit, then tried to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance. The duty manager filled out the form for the jobcentre and gloated he would not get Jobseeker’s.

He quit because she made his and our jobs unbearable. He has a family who depended on his income. When I said it was sad as his family would struggle she laughed.


By 2pm, I still haven’t had a break. The 3 o’clock staff arrive. I apologise that I haven’t had time to wash up, but they understand. We have all been through it.

In my five months in the job, I’ve seen eight staff members come and go. But the newest member of staff (brother of the acting manager) just received a pay rise above all the rest.

Two staff members then handed in their resignations. They have both been working for the company over a year.

Nobody denies he deserved a pay rise, we all do and we all support one another. But this is obviously nepotism from a bullying manager.

Management keep putting people on shifts less than eleven hours apart, which is illegal. When staff ask for this to be changed, the manager often replies that she has to work shifts less than eleven hours apart.

But seeing as she writes the rota herself it’s a bit different to us having to do it when we don’t get a say!

It’s class war 2013 style and we need to fight back. If you are working in a low-paid poorly organised job, contact youthfightforjobs@gmail.com

Is your boss taking the mick? If so, write something for ‘Your Stories’, get in touch, youthfightforjobs@gmail.com

RMT Press Release: ‘Trainpeople’ Workers Open Soup Kitchen

The campaign of the 33 sacked RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers) London Underground (LU) agency workers goes on. Yesterday they set up a soup kitchen outside LU’s HQ in St James Park station.

The RMT said…

“33 RMT London Underground “Trainpeople” staff – who face the prospect of dismissal this week – took their demo right to the heart of the company that treated them so appallingly today.

The sacked workers and their supporters were at St James Park station on Tuesday 15th January at 8am where they set up a soup kitchen to highlight their plight and build public and political support for their fight for jobs and justice.

London Underground inherited a contract with the Trainpeople agency from Silverlink in 2007. In breach of agreements with unions, for five years LU continued to use agency staff in LU uniform while Trainpeople paid them as little as £6.75 per hour. Trainpeople staff joined RMT and organised for equal rights with permanent staff as stipulated in the 2010 Agency Worker Regulations. Then, without warning, LU terminated its contract with the Trainpeople Agency a year early leaving these staff without jobs.

The staff and their supporters are determined to win them jobs and justice.”

The union is stepping up the campaign. Please spread the word throughout the movement to get donations to their hardship fund – make cheques out to ‘RMT London Transport Regional Council’ c/o Defend the 33, RMT Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD.

To get one of the workers to your union branch / trades council and/or send messages of support – contact RMT London Transport regional secretary John Reid jpjreidie@yahoo.co.uk / 07748760261.

Press release: Labour benefits scheme offers no alternative to the Con-Dems says youth campaign

Paul Callanan, Youth Fight for Jobs and Education national organiser said: “Today Labour unveiled a new scheme to get the unemployed into work and training. This scheme will see people who have been unemployed for more than two years forced to take up a government provided job. Tellingly, Balls and Byrne are yet to say whether these jobs will come with a secure, long-term contract or whether this will be just another workfare style wheeze. Short-term or insecure contracts will leave the doors open for companies to use unemployed people as a source of cheap labour. When it comes to people seeking work, Labour have bought into exactly the rhetoric of lazy workshy scroungers as the Tories. Yet again politicians say they will stop benefits for those who don’t take up a job.

YFJE says that if politicians are serious about getting people back into work then they would support our demands. Rather than cutting public sector jobs, the government should be making sure that people get the training and work they need. They could invest in socially useful public works to provide jobs and apprenticeships. And all of these jobs should offer a long term secure contract, paid a living wage. Today’s announcement from Labour demonstrates the fact that none of the mainstream parties have any answers. YFJE will continue campaigning against austerity and for a future for ordinary people.

Youth Fight for Jobs was launched on 2009 in response to rising levels of youth unemployment. We have recently completed the 330 mile Jarrow March for Jobs. We were backed by the Unite, PCS, RMT, CWU, UCU, FBU, BECTU and TSSA trade unions.


For more info see www.youthfightforjobs.com, email youthfightforjobs@gmail.com call 020 8558 7947 or 07713 355616 or follow us on



Last original 1936 Jarrow Crusader dies aged 96

Youth Fight for Jobs is saddened to learn that the last surviving marcher from the original 1936 Jarrow Crusade, Con Shiels, has died aged 96.

Ian Pattison, Youth Fight for Jobs

In 1936, 200 unemployed workers marched from Jarrow in the North-East of England over 300 miles to London. At the time the policies of a coalition government were destroying jobs and tearing communities apart. The 1936 Jarrow Crusade was one of many long ‘hunger’ marches that took place throughout the 1920s and 1930s, against soaring unemployment. After the First World War, unemployment reached over 1m, while people were facing humiliating schemes to get inadequate support. The Communist Party set up the National Unemployed Workers’ Movement (NUWM), and although they didn’t organise the 1936 Jarrow Crusade (that was to be strictly non-Communist), they did organise many hunger marches during the era. Before each NUWM hunger march each marcher would swear an oath blaming the failures of the capitalism system for unemployment, promising to fight so future generations would never know the horrors of joblessness.

It was this movement, including the 1936 Jarrow Crusade that Con Shiels participated in, that has inspired a new generation to march again. Unemployment is rising, particularly among young people. In Britain, where almost 1 in 4 of us are out of work, and across Europe, where 18.5m people are out work in the European Union (EU), more than half of young people in Spain and Greece. At the end of 2011, in the midst of the worldwide ‘Occupy’ movement, Youth Fight for Jobs supporters traced the steps of the 1936 Jarrow Crusade. We marched the 330 miles from Jarrow to London, holding protests and public meetings in every town and city we marched through. We weren’t there just to commemorate Con Shiels, and the other Jarrow Crusaders, but to fight for real jobs, free education, and our future. The Jarrow Crusade had a lasting effect on the labour movement and the marchers themselves, as it did on the new generation of Jarrow Marchers in 2011.

You can hear more about the exploits of the 2011 Jarrow March for Jobs and its origins in the book written by the Jarrow Marchers themselves, ‘Organising the Lost Generation: Jarrow to London 2011 – March for Jobs’.

Trade unionists lobby for 24 hour general strike

This morning, nearly 100 trade unionists joined the National Shop Stewards’ Network lobby outside the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Headquarters, Congress House. This was organised to build support for a 24-hour general strike and put pressure on the TUC’s general council, meeting inside, to call one. Back in September, TUC congress overwhelmingly backed a motion mandating the leadership to look into the practicalities of organising general strike action across the private and public sectors. Today’s protest, attended by workplace reps, leading trade unionists and youth and student activists, demanded the TUC turn that resolution into action.

The lobby was addressed by Glenn Kelly, victimised trade union activist and Bromley Council Staff Side Rep, who said “the fight-back isn’t being held back by the anti-trade union laws, but by the cowardice of the trade union leaders”. He pointed out that simply waiting for a Labour government to come in and reverse cuts isn’t an option – especially since most Labour councillors are now gleefully implementing the cuts handed down by the ConDem coalition. Nancy Taaffe, a librarian made redundant because of cuts, said the fight isn’t just about the ‘here and now’; we’re fighting for the jobs and services of future generations.

Paul Callanan, Youth Fight for Jobs and Education (YFJE) National Organiser, spoke about the grim future being mapped out for young people by the government. He pointed out that it was the duty of the trade union leadership to fight, not just for working people, but for those being shut out of education and the million young people on the dole. He said that if the TUC leadership were not prepared to give the people a lead then they “should step aside and let those people that are prepared to fight”. The lobby was wrapped up by Rob Williams, chair of the National Shop Stewards Network, who led the crowd in chants of “TUC hear us say, general strike, name the day!”.

The government has declared war on ordinary people with a brutal onslaught of cuts to our jobs and services. We cannot respond with the white flag of surrender. Instead we must use the most powerful weapon in our arsenal: a general strike. This would win the support of all those young people struggling against attacks on our rights and living standards. This would be the first step on the way to building the kind of mass movement we need to roll back the tide of austerity. YFJE will work alongside trade unionists to campaign for the TUC to make its words a reality.

Scottish March for jobs starts tomorrow!

Young trade unionists, unemployed, students and school pupils will be marching from Stirling to Glasgow from 17th – 19th October. The March for Jobs and Public Services has been organised by Youth Fight for Jobs Scotland and the PCS Young Members Network.

Wednesday 17th October, day one, Stirling to Larbert

Send off Rally

Stirling Castle Car park 12-1pm set off at Stirling Station

We will be marching through former mining villages incl Fallin. In the 84 -85 miners strike pickets weren’t needed at the local pit as the strike was so solid.

End at Larbert around 6:30pm – home town of Thomas Hardy radical parliamentary reformer

Thursday 18th October, day two, Larbert to Milngarvie

March from Camelon Station beginning of Union Canal 9am

We will be marching through towns such as Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch which were built up through the mass council housing program in the 1950′s with slum clearance from Glasgow. These areas are now devastated by high youth unemployment.

We hope to be in Kirkintilloch mid afternoon contact us on details below to meet for for details.

End at Milngarvie Thursday evening

Friday 19th October, day three, Milngarvie to Glasgow City Centre

Leaving Milngarvie at 9am aiming to be at Maryhill station for 10:30am

on the way into Glasgow City Centre we will stop at DWP Northgate to meet PCS campaigners.

12:30pm Argyle Street opposite Debenhams Street Rally leaflet for Saturday’s demonstration.

Saturday 20th October

Join the #scottishmarch4jobs contingent at George Square from 10:30am look for the red t-shirts.

Contact March organisers for interviews and futher details  07927342060, youthfightscotland@gmail.com

www.youthfightforjobs.com http://scottishmarchforjobs.wordpress.com/