Youth Fight for Jobs: Leeds demo calls for better deal for workers

A demonstration calling a fairer and brighter jobs future for young workers was held in Leeds.

Sunday, 10th October 2021, 10:11 am
Youth Fight for Jobs demonstration at Millennium Square. PIC: Andrew Hutchinson

Youth Fight for Jobs held a protest in the city centre yesterday (October 9) where job creation, a minimum wage increase and an end to zero hour contracts were the issues in the spotlight.

Scores of people turned out to support the call for action at Millennium Square.

One of the event organisers, Alex Hutchinson, said: "We have become heavily reliant on the service and hospitality industry which is so heavily dominated by young workers. Within that industry you see a lot of precarious employment - zero hour contracts, part time workers, minimum wage. Young people simply aren't earning enough, not just be be able to afford a place of their own but being able to afford to move out of their parents' houses and have any decent futures. Parallel to that you've also seen the increase in tuition fees and the cuts in grants and support schemes."

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"Some of our key demands would be to end the bogus self-employment , zero hour contracts so that every worker has got decent terms and conditions from day one of employment. It would be for an immediate increase of minimum wage to £12 an hour which would lift millions of workers, and young workers, out of poverty and allow them to pursue a decent standard of living."

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Alex said the pandemic had taken its toll on young workers with millions left struggling: "It has had a very detrimental affect and as we begin to open up we are not seeing decent jobs being created. We are seeing a return to that gig economy, to those minimum wage jobs.

"There needs to be proper investment if we want to lift young people out of poverty and give them a decent future."

Iain Dalton, former Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs organiser and now Socialist Party Yorkshire Regional Secretary said "We need to see schemes to create socially useful jobs including filling the estimated 1m vacancies amongst NHS and care staff over the next decade, building affordable council housing as well as funding training and improved conditions to fill the HGV and tanker driver shortages.”

Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) was originally launched in 2009 following the rise of youth unemployment after the 2007/08 financial crisis.

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