Tag Archives: Youth Fight For Jobs

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

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)


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


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


1PM – outside Primark, New Street


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


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


11AM – Victoria Square, town centre


11AM – Meet by Café Rouge in Canterbury city centre


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


11AM – Scotch Street city centre


11AM – Chester Cross, town centre


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


12 noon – Exeter High Street


12 noon at Sauchiehall Street McDonald’s


Coming soon!


1pm outside Briggate/Boar Lane McDonalds


Meet 11am, the Clock Tower, Leicester Town Centre


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


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


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


12 noon – Northumberland Street Burger King


12 noon- Yorkshire Street, town centre


11AM – top of Fargate


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

St Helens

11AM – Church Square, town centre


2pm – Meet outside McDonalds on Castle Square


10 AM – Outside McDonalds on Kirkgate


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


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


5th November – Day of Civil Disobedience: Scrap zero-hour contracts

Youth Fight for Jobs target
Sports Direct & CBI

Anti-zero-hour contract campaigners in Youth Fight for Jobs are planning to target CBI (Confederation of British Industry) headquarters, the organisation representing big business in Britain, as part of our national day of action.

As the CBI hold their annual conference, setting out the agenda of big business in the UK, young people suffering under many of their favoured employment practices will be mobilising.

Tottenham Court Road tube station
outside We Will Rock You
march to the CBI HQ at Centre Point.

Nationally, targets such as Sports Direct stores are also being hit with protests.

You can find a full list of tomorrow’s protests here: http://www.youthfightforjobs.com/wordpress/wordpress/?p=884

Helen Pattison, former zero-hour contract worker and Youth Fight for Jobs London organiser said:

“5.5 million people are currently employed with less than 3 hours of guaranteed work each week. These contracts give maximum flexibility to the employers, but maximum insecurity to workers. Young people are disproportionately affected by these contracts. The Youth Fight for Jobs campaign is building the fight to put pressure on employers like Sports Direct to end this exploitation. We say that the solution to mass youth unemployment is not cramming people on to zero-hour contracts and into low paid insecure work. In reality this simply hides the problem, as thousands are counted as ‘employed’ when often they have little or no hours of work each week. The CBI have been staunch defenders of zero-hour contracts and little wonder. Freedom of exploitation by the bosses leads to higher profits and further lines the pockets of the super-rich 1%. Tomorrows protest will send them a clear message: we’re willing to fight back.”

Campaigners also plan to target the headquarters of Sports Direct in Shirebrook. The company hit the headlines last month for having 90% of staff employed on zero-hour contracts. Details here: http://www.youthfightforjobs.com/wordpress/wordpress/?p=884

Join the protests against zero-hour contracts on 5 November!

Bonfire and Wall of Shame
outside Sports Direct
Victoria Square

also join us 8am-9am at Bolton train station to leaflet and collect signatures for the protest!

Protest with us at Chester Sports Direct

Protest outside Sports Direct
Exeter High Street

Youth Fight for Jobs are joining Unite Community to demonstrate against zero-hour contracts
Dortmund Sqauare @ 4pm

Protest outside Sports Direct
15 Parker Street,  L1 1DJ

Protest the CBI (Confederation of British Industry)
Meet 3pm @ Tottenham Court Road tube station (We Will Rock You exit) to march to their HQ

London’s event can be found here: http://www.youthfightforjobs.com/wordpress/wordpress/?p=914

London – Waltham Forest
Protest to demand that re-instatement of sacked Whipps Cross hospital worker, Charlotte Monro (Unison branch chair )
5PM @ the Whipps Cross hospital Main Entrance on Whipps Cross Road

Protest outside Sports Direct on Market Street (Arndale Centre)
in Manchester city centre

Join us leafleting shops owned by tax-dodgers and zero-hour employers Arcadia (Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton’s, BHS and more!) on the High Street after the protests

- 11am protest against ATOS at the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) building on Harsthead Square, behind Argos which is opposite Primark
- 12:30pm protest against zero-hour contracts at outside CeX (Entertainment Exchange) on High Street near the Cathedral at the bottom of Fargate
- 1pm Bedroom tax demo

Plus banner drops across the city throughout the day!

Protest @ Sports Direct HQ in Shirebrook in North Derbyshire
Meet at 10.30am at Shirebrook Market Place

More to follow!

to get your event or protest advertised on the Youth Fight for Jobs website email youthfightforjobs@gmail.com

‘Why are we protesting 5 November?’ http://www.youthfightforjobs.com/wordpress/wordpress/?p=881

Target the CBI HQ in London! http://www.youthfightforjobs.com/wordpress/wordpress/?p=914

Youth Fight for Jobs protest against zero-hour contracts outside Sports Direct, photo Ian Pattison

Youth Fight for Jobs protest against zero-hour contracts outside Sports Direct, photo Ian Pattison

We need action against zero-hour contracts

Join the day of action on 5 November

check out http://bit.ly/1hfKIja for a list of protests on the day!

Claire Laker-Mansfield, Youth Fight for Jobs

How do you make a fortune worth £1.7 billion? It’s perhaps not a question most of us have spent too much time pondering.

For the average person, the more pressing questions are the ones about paying fuel bills, making food last and avoiding rent arrears.

But if ever you do have the urge, it would be worth addressing the question to one Mike Ashley – proud owner of Sports Direct, currently in 15th place on the country’s rich list.

The only thing is, you might be a little disappointed at the answer. Mike Ashley made his money in the same way most of them do – not through some special genius or unique innovation.

He started out rich, he bought up other people’s companies and – here’s the most important bit – he employed thousands of workers on insecure zero-hour contracts and rock bottom wages. Because maximum exploitation equals maximum profit.

Youth Fight for Jobs protest against zero-hour contracts outside Sports Direct, photo Ian Pattison

Youth Fight for Jobs protest against zero-hour contracts outside Sports Direct, photo Ian Pattison

Like it or lump it?

When Sports Direct and other big companies were exposed in the press for their enormous use of zero-hour contracts, it caused outrage.

Anyone can see the deep unfairness of it. Your employer has total freedom and flexibility. You have to like it or lump it – plenty of people are queuing up to get more hours if you upset the boss.

But Youth Fight for Jobs says we’re not prepared to simply ‘lump it’. The ‘Are you Sick of your Boss?’ (SoyB) initiative is mounting a fightback against zero-hour contracts, low pay and insecurity.

On 5 November we’re calling a national day of action targeting zero-hour companies with protests, stunts and occupations.

In particular we’ll be hitting super-exploitative Sports Direct. We’re appealing to everyone who’s facing these issues at work, to trade unionists who support our campaign and to anyone disgusted by these contracts to join us on the day.

Building anger

With this action, we want to put the spotlight back on the zero-hour employers who think they can get away with it.

We want to give confidence to those struggling under the weight of low wages and casual employment that they’re not alone.

Because ultimately, it won’t be rallies and stunts that beat back greedy and exploitative bosses. It will be the workers getting organised.

We can take inspiration from the example of Hovis workers who’ve taken strike action and beaten back zero-hour contracts. They’ve shown it’s possible to fight – and it’s possible to win.

What Mike Ashley and those like him fear most is not just bad publicity, it’s the anger that’s building on his shop floors, it’s the potential for working class traditions – those of unions, strikes and solidarity – to assert themselves powerfully as his employees get a feel for their own strength.

That’s why SoyB aims to use this day of action as a springboard for building groups of young workers and trade unionists who can help each other to get organised. If you’re sick of your boss and want to join the fightback – protest on 5 November.

check out http://www.youthfightforjobs.com/wordpress/wordpress/wp-admin/post.php?post=884&action=edit&message=6 for a list of protests on the day!

Target the CBI HQ in London! http://www.youthfightforjobs.com/wordpress/wordpress/?p=914

to get your event or protest advertised on the Youth Fight for Jobs website email youthfightforjobs@gmail.com

No to divide and rule – Why we should support PCS

How can we defeat Workfare?

PCS (civil servants trade union) was one of the first national trade unions to affiliate to Youth Fight for Jobs. Since we were founded in 2009 to fight growing and mass youth unemployment, and following the election of the Con-Dem austerity government in 2010, PCS has been one of our most vocal and consistent supporters. It is therefore a shock and a surprise that PCS has come under severe criticism on twitter from Boycott Workfare, a group that claims to fight the Con-Dem welfare cuts.

PCS members on the final leg of the Youth Fight for Jobs 330-mile Jarrow March for Jobs

PCS members on the final leg of the Youth Fight for Jobs 330-mile Jarrow March for Jobs

We are proud to describe PCS as one of Britain’s most effective and fighting trade unions. PCS has been at the heart of the anti-austerity movement since the Tories were elected. PCS initially took strike action with a small number of other trade unions in June 2011. This eventually snowballed into the tremendous 2m strong public sector strikes at the end of that year.

Boycott Workfare’s misguided attacks on twitter do raise important questions for the entire labour movement about how we can stop the Con-Dem austerity juggernaut, which PCS and YF4Js do think is beatable. Youth Fight for Jobs explains that, with over six million members, fighting trade unions are central. PCS opposes all the government’s austerity measures, all attempts to make ordinary people pay for the bankers’ crisis. PCS have spelled out their anti-austerity credentials in words and practice. It is ridiculous and false for Boycott Workfare to claim that “PCS have done nothing” to oppose Con-Dem austerity and accuse PCS, one of Britain’s most effective anti-cuts organisations and fighting trade unions, of ‘implementing Tory policies’ and “letting [the] government off the hook”. In fact, PCS members in the Department for Work and Pensions and DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) are striking this Friday (25th) against privatisation!

A clear distinction has to be made. PCS is not the same as the Con-Dem Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) headed by vicious Tory Iain Duncan Smith. PCS is the trade union that represents ordinary workers in DWP and the rest of the civil service. Unfortunately, PCS does not get to decide government policy. If they did, we’d all be in a much better position! PCS opposes the horrific treatment of disabled people in Con-Dem Britain, and have challenged unemployed and young people being labelled as ‘scroungers’.

How can the Con-Dem welfare counter-reforms be fought? Boycott Workfare demand that civil servants should refuse to participate in administering Con-Dem policy. The reasoning is understandable, but every strategy needs to be thought out carefully and agreed that it is the best road to take and one that has a good possibility of winning the objective. While this kind of action by PCS workers may sound attractive, it is fraught with pitfalls. Firstly, it would not be a strike. The job of some PCS workers entails administering many brutal disagreeable procedures to all kinds of people like welfare claimants, migrant workers, even those convicted of crimes. To refuse as individuals to carry out their job, or part of their job, would put them immediately in jeopardy. In today’s climate it could get them the sack. Nevertheless some job centre workers have still bravely blown the whistle on the sanctions being peddled by the Tories.

It is also worth remembering that the trade unions led many successful campaigns to change objectionable laws and practices, such as ending legalised unequal pay for women or excluding racist activists from workplaces.

Boycott Workfare has said it’s impossible for workfare to be administered without the unionised workforce of PCS. But 25,000 workers have already lost their jobs in DWP alone since the Tories were elected in 2010. Trade union facility time is under being undermined by this government, and PCS have been singled out for particular attack. It is a mistake to join the chorus of hate being thrown at the trade unions by the Tories and their friends in the Daily Mail. Iain Duncan Smith, Francis Maude, and the rest of the Tory cabinet would like nothing more than to see the back of PCS, a massive block to achieving their austerity policies. It is far better for ATOS workers and civil servants to be in a strong united PCS, the backbone of the labour movement in Britain.

To refuse to participate as a whole trade union is by no means straightforward. A case would have to be put that was generally agreed by PCS members as a realistic way forward. Is this possible? PCS members might argue that, why should they alone bear the brunt of defeating this government on benefits? Even if PCS action was a popular idea, thanks to the anti-trade union laws to get a legal ballot would most likely not be possible, as the issue is ‘political’ and not a strict trade union grievance. Mass action is key to defeating the cuts.

PCS have won numerous local disputes even in the midst of the Con-Dem onslaught. Just the threat of strike action beat 43 compulsory redundancies in DWP this year. When PCS have taken national and sectional strike action, often alone and without co-ordinated support from other trade unions, PCS have always balloted over pay, jobs, pensions, and conditions; i.e. cuts and austerity, to broaden the struggle out as much as possible. It is obvious workers will be most keen to strike over the direct issues affecting their living standards and work.

ATOS is the controversial private company used by the Con-Dems to determine whether disabled people are fit for work. Disabled people incapable of working in Con-Dem Britain have been kicked off benefits by profit-hungry ATOS. Some staff at ATOS, including IT administrators are organised in PCS. ATOS workers organised in PCS have voted to take strike action over pay. Disgracefully, Boycott Workfare has taken the decision to oppose this strike under the misleading headline ‘PCS Union support ATOS workers who abuse the disabled community “Shame on the PCS”’. Boycott Workfare echo the arguments of Tory attack dog, Cabinet Minister Francis Maude, who says public sector workers like those organised in the PCS have ‘never had it so good’ compared to the rest of us. One Boycott Workfare supporter suggested PCS members should leave ATOS and get a better job. How is that possible when 2.5m are out of work, 5.5m on zero-hour contracts? Boycott Workfare have even suggested the problem is DWP workers do not understand the guidance they have been given from management. Boycott Workfare are putting the blame for a disastrously draconian welfare system onto PCS members not the Tory government!

PCS members at the Department for Education striking in March 2013

PCS members at the Department for Education striking in March 2013

‘Civil disobedience’ and ‘direct action’, can be important elements of any campaign, but central to a movement capable of bringing down the Con-Dem government and ending austerity must be mass workers’ action, starting with a 24-hour general strike.

PCS has been one of the main trade unions to make the call for coordinated strike action. Instead of attacking PCS we need other trade unions but also community campaigns and young, unemployed and disabled people, to come behind this call.

Teachers, lecturers, postal workers, fire-fighters, and university support staff are all taking strike action this autumn, a united 1 day national strike of even just these workers could inspire a renewed fight back against all the cuts and attacks on the welfare state.

Ian Pattison
Youth Fight for Jobs spokesperson