Trades unions must fight for jobs for youth!


NEARLY half of all employers (45 per cent) will not be offering jobs to 16-year-old school-leavers and graduates this year.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) conducted a survey of 500 firms and found that over 80 per cent of these employers will not be taking on 16-year-olds and two-thirds will not be offering jobs to 18-year-olds.

Less than half the firms (49 per cent) said they would be employing graduates this year. A third of these firms have cut the number of graduates it employs.

These grim job prospects for youth come at a time when official unemployment already stands at 2.03m, a 12-year high. It is expected that total unemployment will hit more than three million by next year.

Over the past year, the number of young people under 25 registering as unemployed and eligible for Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) has rocketed by 80 per cent. More than 450,000 people under the age of 25 are jobless and claiming JSA.

In the wake of the financial collapse and deepening slump over the past 18 months, it is clear that capitalism cannot offer youth a future. Youth demand the right to free education and the right to a job, not JSA money and charity.

In response to the results of the CIPD survey, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said: ‘These grim figures show that unemployment is still a national emergency in this country. The government must make it a number one priority to avoid the spectre of mass unemployment last seen in the 1980s.’

It is all very well for the TUC to talk of unemployment being a ‘national emergency’, but, after a year of growing unemployment, how have the leaders of the big trades unions fought to defend jobs and ensure that they are there for the next generation?

The leaders of the Unite union accepted thousands of redundancies at RBS and Lloyds when Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government bailed out the bankers and took a major stake in these banks last autumn.

In the car industry and in engineering Unite leaders Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley have struck deals with the employers that have seen thousands more jobs axed, short-term working and pay cuts.

At BMW 850 agency workers got a few minutes notice before they were forced out of the factory without the union officials lifting a finger to defend their jobs.

It has been the same story at Nissan, Honda, LDV, Ford and General Motors (Vauxhall), while the leaders of the GMB trade union agreed to redundancies and pay cuts at JCB.

Workers know that the jobs they have are what they bequeath to future generations of the working class. They know that accepting redundancies, compulsory or voluntary, is a betrayal of school-leavers and graduates that are now desperately looking for jobs.

Talk of accepting redundancies in exchange for keeping some jobs, ‘while waiting for an upturn’, is a deception purveyed by union leaders to impose on the working class the demands of the employers.

Appealing to Brown’s bankers’ government to provide a future for youth is a betrayal of the working class. It has overseen mass sackings at the banks and in the civil service. More jobs will be axed in the public sector as it claws back the billions it has handed to the banks.

The fight for jobs demands the building of a new leadership in the trade unions to replace those leaders who have not lifted a finger in this fight.

Workers need a revolutionary leadership in their trades unions that will defend every job, through strikes, occupations, the formation of Councils of Action and a struggle for the nationalisation of industries that will guarantee employment.

The Workers Revolutionary Party and its youth movement, the Young Socialists (YS), is building this kind of leadership in the unions. Young people should join the YS today!

The whole trades union movement must be mobilised in mass strikes and political action to bring down the Brown government and replace it with a workers’ government that will develop a socialist planned economy. This will guarantee workers and their families the right to free education and jobs for youth.