Saturday, 16 July 2011

Jobs not Cuts

Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales has the fourth highest level of youth unemployment in Britain with more than a third of 16-24 year olds unable to find work.

Last year Tory minister Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) asked why don't jobseekers in Merthyr Tydfil "just get on a bus" to Cardiff? He blames the unemployed for being out of work.

But for every vacancy advertised in Cardiff, there are nine job seekers living in the city, let alone those outside in places like Merthyr who are looking to commute. In Merthyr itself there are 84 job seekers for every job advertised!

But Iain won't let the facts get in the way of his ideological campaign to make ordinary working class people and the most vulnerable in society pay for the economic crisis.

Bus or no bus, this government's policies mean there are no jobs! They're cutting 750,000 jobs from the public sector and, while claiming the private sector will come to our rescue, they're doing nothing as the high street collapses around us.

And the schemes they claim are designed to help unemployed young people are a joke. I volunteered to do a placement with a private insurance company because I was told that I had an "excellent chance of employment" within the company.

I worked there full-time. After six weeks I became ill resulting in two days off work over the following two weeks. It wasn't until I had worked for the company for 12 weeks that my manager took me aside and confessed that I was never going to find a job there after I had taken those two days off sick.

She then started questioning my commitment to finding work, completely ignoring the fact that I had been working for her for 12 weeks for free. The truth was clear, I was never going to find a job in that company.

The team I was in was a training team so not directly profitable and they just needed a way to increase productivity without breaking the budget.

As you can imagine it was a huge blow to my confidence considering how hard I worked when I was there. Unfortunately many unemployed young people like me are being exploited in this way.

Youth Fight for Jobs Wales protested when IDS came to Cardiff with chants of "Duncan-Smith, do us a favour - give us jobs, not slave labour!" and attempted to challenge him about his "get on a bus" idea. We also joined trade unionists at a recent anti-cuts march and rally in Cardiff.

From 4 to 6 August, we will show IDS that the unemployed aren't lazy and go one better than getting on a bus from Merthyr to Cardiff - we're marching the whole distance. And then in October we'll be joining the Jarrow march for jobs from Jarrow in South Tyneside all the way to London, which will go past IDS's constituency office in Chingford.

Both marches will be demanding investment in a programme of socially useful job creation. A report published recently by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University concluded that only a publicly run jobs creation scheme like this can restore economic prosperity to Wales.

So far the campaign has received a great response from young people and trade union members in south Wales. In the lead-up to the demonstration we will be organising a number of fundraising events including gigs and stalls which will also raise awareness and bring in more marchers.
If you can join either demonstration or help us raise money to cover the costs, get in touch:

www.jarrowmarch11.com
youthfightforjobs@gmail.com

by Katie Simpson, South Wales Youth Fight for Jobs

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