Monday, 26 March 2012

Youth Fight for Jobs takes the fight to the Tories in Troon

Jamie Cocozza Glasgow Youth Fight for Jobs (Photos Leah Ganley)

The demonstration at the Scottish Tory Conference in Troon represented a major step forward for Youth Fight for Jobs in Scotland.
Youth Fight for Jobs responded to the first national demonstration against youth unemployment in a generation, by launching a strong campaign across Scotland including daily street stalls, leafleting of colleges and workplaces and protests against workfare and the austerity budget. Over the last few weeks young people have flocked to stalls to sign up to the campaign and shown interest in the demonstration enraged by the prospect of joblessness and the freezing of the minimum wage.

Youth Fight for Jobs made the 1,000 strong march in Troon a lively affair bringing young people who had never demonstrated before into contact with the trade union movement. Our vibrant contingent with the blue Jarrow March for Jobs T-shirts looking resplendent in the afternoon sunshine led chanting of “no ifs no buts, no public sector cuts” and “we won’t be a lot generation, fight for jobs and education”. We were honoured to march alongsideyoung members from the PCS trade union, who helped us mobilise for the demonstration and we stand shoulder to shoulder with them in their battle against attacks on pensions and pay.
As we passed the conference venue suited delegates – protected by a seven-foot-high fence and a police cordon - came to meet us with mocking smiles and waves, which only served to make our contingent even louder. Marchers far outnumbered attendees at the conference; considering that there are more pandas in Scotland than Tory MPs, it shouldn’t come as a surprise!
Youth Fight for Jobs speakers announced to all watching why we were marching, the demands of the campaign, and why we are refusing to give in to the ConDem programme of austerity. Locals came to their windows and stood applauding on the streets, giving us the thumbs up. Hundreds of leaflets were handed out to local youth.
Arriving at the official STUC rally on the promenade, young people, seeing our contingent in action, queued up to sign our petition and join the campaign. Unfortunately despite our letter in advance to the STUC we were not given the nod to speak on the official platform.
We set up a fringe meeting in the vicinity of the rally. Youth Fight for Jobs members spoke to assembled marchers on our demands of real job creation, scrapping of workfare and the introduction of a living wage, receiving a warm reception.
Notwithstanding selling over ten copies of the Spark, twenty-three young people signed up for more information on the campaign, including school students in nearby Irvine. We now are setting up groups of the campaign in local areas with public meetings over the next few weeks and plan to organise a Scottish March for Jobs in the summer.

No comments:

Post a Comment