Currently young people are marching from Jarrow near Newcastle, to London in protest at the lack of work for young people. Youth unemployment rose to almost 1 million people over the last month.
The marchers are passing through Coventry, and one of them, Ollie, travelled to Birmingham to talk about the march.
He told us how much support he had had from people where the march was passing, and that the media was not reflecting the facts on the ground, that most people are supportive of this march.
Ollie spoke widely about the issues facing young people today, not just unemployment but the implementation of workfare and work programmes, housing issues and the scrapping of EMA and raising of tuition fees that are creating a two-tier education system.
The government is systematically destroying the future of this generation of young people
He also explicitly linked the struggle of young people to other people, mentioning the public sector pension strikes and the problems that disabled people are facing with cuts in benefits and ATOS assessment programmes, and how all these struggles are linked.
The demands for Youth Fight for Jobs .. are that the government should really be investing in the future for young people, rather than destroying their future .. firstly there should be a lot more jobs created that are socially useful .. we are facing huge environmental catastrophes and there should be lots of jobs created in environmental area .. I have mentioned there is a lack of housing for people and this is also an opportunity
He also talked about reinstatement of EMA, creation of social housing, apprenticeships and other things as part of the demands. He said that the march is a tactic, not an end in itself.
There will be a regional demonstration in Coventry on Saturday to support the marchers, people from Birmingham are meeting at New Street train station at 11am to travel there.
After Ollie, Sian Ruddick from PCS spoke. She talked about how her father remembered the original march, and how there was 50th anniversary march that she joined. Talking about unemployment in Birmingham she told us:
Birmingham has 5 out of the 10 most deprived areas in the Country. Ladywood consituency, in which is where I work which is Handsworth has the highest unemployment in the country and obviously a large proportion of those are Youth. We do have people who are committed to trying to find young people jobs.
Sian told us of young people with degrees who are in job centres looking for packing work, and the issues of a lack of good apprenticeships means that a traditional route into a good job is gone.
Like Ollie she talked about the wider issues facing young people, not just the lack of jobs but cuts to youth services, the scrapping of EMA and raising of tuition fees.
At each leg of the journey, the marchers have been joined by local people who are not able to complete the whole march but do a short part of it.
The marchers will reach London on November 5th where there is a national demonstration. A coach is going from Birmingham, at the cost of £3 unwaged or £6 waged. If you wish to join them to demonstrate against unemployment, please email us and we’ll put you in touch with the organisers – BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com