17 young people have marched from Merthyr to protest against the scandal of youth unemployment. Tory DWP secretary, Iain Duncan Smith had criticised the unemployed of Merthyr for not just getting on a bus to Cardiff. But as the marchers explained, for every job in the job centres in Cardiff there are nine unemployed Cardiffians - there are not enough jobs anywhere. And the situation is so bad in Merthyr the equivalent figure is 84 for every job!
So the Youth Fight For Jobs march set out from Merthyr on Thursday. Rhys Harrison, one of the organisers asked "why is it that every student on a loan and every young person looking for work is a scrounger, but every banker with a golden handshake and gigantic bonus is a legend?" It was raining as the march began, but the sun came out as it reached the edge of Merthyr. The marchers paused briefly at the Hoover factory which ended production in 2009 adding over 300 workers to the dole queue, before heading to Troedyrhiw and then Merthyr Vale, Treharris and Cilfynydd. The first day ended in Pontypridd where the marchers camped out overnight.
Setting out in Merthyr
On the second day the march delayed leaving Pontypridd job centre, making a detour to show its support for the struggle of REMPLOY workers in the Rhondda valley who were occupying the Porth factory for 48 hours as part of their action to defend their plant against government plans to close it. At a meeting outside the plant Youth fight For Jobs and REMPLOY workers pledged support for each other's campaign. The march continued their progress by marching through Porth before heading back to Pontypridd to continue the march.
The march continued through Treforest, Rhydyfelin, Hawthorn (where the marchers were kindly supplied with free hot dogs), Nantgarw, Taffs Well and Tongwynlais before arriving at the Conservative HQ in Whitchurch where a young Tory boy in a suit was waiting to receive a letter of protest. Local young people joined in the protest at the Tories' policies.
Day three continued with the march from Whitchurch into the city centre to a great reception, a number of trade unions and a battery of TV cameras. The march had firmly put the issue of youth unemployment on the agenda in Wales. So much for lazy young people!
As one of the march organisers, Jaime Davies, a young shop worker from Caerphilly, said "We will not be oppressed by capitalist society. We march for our future."
The campaign continues with the build up for the Jarrow march to London which begins on October 1st. You can join in here