London report by Lily Douglas
Youth Fight for Jobs organised protests in 15 towns and cities on 9 October. They were joined by trade unionists, including Socialist Party members, and other activists, demanding decent jobs for young people — a £15-an-hour minimum wage and an end to zero-hour contracts.
In London, the protest started outside the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (Beis), before marching to Downing Street. It was youthful, energetic, and hopeful.
Our protest covered a wide range of issues that are facing young people, but it also showed how young workers and students are not standing alone. We had a speaker from the Communication Workers Union (CWU) postal executive, plus a Unison member, speaking in a personal capacity.
London Socialist Party and Youth Fight for Jobs organiser, Berkay Kartav, said: “This campaign was initially launched about ten years ago, in response to rising youth unemployment caused by the 2008-09 financial crisis. We made it clear then, and we make it clear today, young people won’t mortgage our future for the capitalist crisis.
“Two thirds of all job losses during the pandemic were accounted for by young people. And there is a multitude of other problems facing us.
“But the truth is we are optimistic, because we have confidence in the new generation of working-class fighters to improve their living conditions through struggle. We also put pressure on the leaders of the trade union movement – they represent potentially the most powerful force in the society, the organised working class.
“There have been important victories. Rent strikes, organised by university students, won concessions from both the Tory government and Welsh Labour government. Bexley and Thurrock bin workers show that if you fight, you can bring the bosses and their political representatives to their knees.”