‘The TUC leaders must call a General Strike, everyone is being hit over pensions, pay, and conditions,’ said David Pitt, Vice Chair of West Midland Fire Brigades Union yesterday, as he joined the YS march for Jobs in Wolverhampton, on Day 11 of the March from London to Liverpool.
Pitt continued: ‘I give my full support to the YS March for Jobs. This march is about £9,000 university fees, zero hour contracts and lack of jobs.
‘Everyone should support this march. I am on the TUC Young Workers Forum and I have raised this march and publicised it. We are all socialists, when I look down the list of what we are campaigning for we are fighting for the same demands.
‘I support a General Strike from the TUC. I saw the Young Socialists campaigning outside Bournmouth at the TUC last year. At the moment we firefighters are in dispute about our pensions, they want us to pay in more than we get out. They want us to work until we are 60.
‘We think that it is dangerous to have 60-year-old men and women climbing ladders to put out fires. Public safety will be put at serious risk. The government’s own research showed that 66% of firefighters will be sacked by the time they are 60, because they will not be fit for work. There is no way we are going to let two thirds of our mates be sacked.
‘At the moment they are just not recruiting new firefighters. Making firefighters work longer means there will be less young firefighters recruited. Where are the jobs for young people? We all know the unemployment situation amongst youth. That is why I give my full support to the YS march for Jobs.’
Ryan Griffiths, said: ‘I have joined the march at Wolverhampton where I live and I am now marching on the route to Stafford in protest over the increase to £9,000 tuition fees. I plan to lobby the TUC in Liverpool.
‘There are a lot of young people signing on at the job centre in Wolverhampton. What I think of this government you couldn’t print in your paper. I will say that they are a farce and Nick Clegg is wrapped around Cameron’s middle finger.
‘This government has to go but I don’t know who would be any better, and that is why I am for revolution.’
Charlotte Wright, a youth from Wolverhampton, said: ‘I am in college and I don’t want to be in debt for the rest of my life from paying tuition fees. I want to go to university to get more education and because getting a job is tough.
‘Young people are treated like slaves at work. When you do an apprenticeship you only get paid £2.50 an hour, but you do the same work as everyone else. This is just free labour for them, It’s slavery.’
The evening before, the Marchers were treated to a special meal at the Gloucester Street Community Centre.
Viv Williams, Finance Officer for the community centre, said: ‘The council have cut the funding for the services we provide, these services are essential for the whole community. They have cut our entire funding to zero. We want our funding back.’
Marcia Williams, the centre manager, said: ‘We provide youth services. We are providing the council services which the local council are not providing and the government has pulled the rug from under us.’