50 young trade unionists, unemployed people and students from all over the UK met on 10 June for a national meeting of Youth Fight for Jobs and Education (YF4Js).
Helen Pattison, Youth Fight for Jobs Nottingham
Speakers included Brandon Madsen from Minneapolis involved with the Occupy Homes campaign against home foreclosures. Occupy Homes has already seen victories by keeping some people in their homes. With the Young Londoners Forced-Out campaign recently launched by YF4Js to highlight the housing problems facing young people in the capital, the discussion focused on the housing benefit cuts and the Olympics which are both going to be responsible for rising homelessness among young people.
Several people came into the discussion describing their personal experiences of Workfare and how these schemes destroy jobs and drive down the rights of workers as well as exploiting young people. YF4Js played a leading role organising protests outside many of the shops using Workfare and won some small changes to the more oppressive aspects of one of the schemes. But, the vast bulk of these slave labour schemes are still in place. We need to go further to force all fat cat big businesses to invest in real jobs that pay a living wage.
During the afternoon session the meeting discussed organising the campaign, giving activists a chance to report back on some inspirational campaigning in their areas. Plans were made for the TUC October 20th demo where YF4Js will be involved in organising a youth contingent, linking together the struggles of workers and young people in the fight for decent jobs and a future.
There was also in-depth discussion of the recently produced YF4Js manifesto. A future for the 99% outlines what YF4Js stands for as well as campaigning tips. This will be launched at YF4Js' ‘Austerity Games’ on 23 July.