The Socialist 26 March 2014 |
Join the Socialist
| PDF | ebook
No to junk jobs
Pay us a minimum £10 an hour
Youth Fight for Jobs protesting outside Sports Direct against zero-hour contracts. photo Ian Pattison (Click to enlarge)
Claire-Laker Mansfield, Youth Fight for Jobs
"People are often surprised by the employee benefits on offer. All of our team earn at least the national minimum wage". So proudly boasts the UK website for multi-billion pound fast food chain McDonalds.
Well, thank you McDonalds. With fantastic 'benefits' like that it's no wonder that your "happy employees make happy customers".
But try not to be surprised if we don't jump for joy at news of the 'flexible' (aka zero-hour) employment you so generously provide.
Try not to be shocked if we don't think your (supposed) commitment to provide the statutory minimums makes you a 'model employer'.
And definitely don't expect that workers will just put up with it. Because we're ready for a fightback!
Youth Fight for Jobs has been campaigning for real jobs - with guaranteed hours, a living wage and trade union rights - since we were set up in 2009.
Now, we're teaming up with the Bakers', Food and Allied Workers' Union (BFAWU) as part of the Fast Food Rights coalition. Our aim: to help workers get organised to fight back.
On Saturday 29 March, a national day of action will see protests organised in towns and cities all over the country.
We're naming and shaming zero-hour and low wage employers. And we won't just be protesting outside. We aim to talk to and discuss with as many workers as possible - to help give people the confidence that comes with knowing you're not on your own.
We're also organising public meetings for employees to come along to. We'll be discussing how trade unions can help us to win better conditions at work, and what lessons we can draw from the past experiences of workers.
In America, fast food workers have led a spectacular campaign against exploitation. Their demands - for $15 an hour and a union - have rocked the multinationals and shaken the political establishment.
The election of Socialist Kshama Sawant as a Seattle city councillor, which came on the back of support for a $15 an hour minimum wage, shows that a campaign like this can change the political climate.
In Britain, the Con-Dems are trying to blame young people for the dire situation this government, and their failed capitalist system, has left us in.
We are told that we should not be 'job snobs' - that we should be grateful to companies like McDonalds for offering us a 'leg up' in the world of work.
But in Youth Fight for Jobs we think the 'gratitude deficit' is on the side of employers. Every year McDonalds, Subway and Sports Direct make billions in profit.
Their shareholders and executives can afford a champagne and caviar lifestyle. But the workers who flip burgers, make coffee and serve customers get shafted.
It's time to fight back. We're demanding a living wage of £10 hour, guaranteed hours and trade unions to represent us.
The establishment parties of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband all, ultimately, represent the interests of the employer.
So if the capitalist system can't deliver decent living standards and rights for us, we need to change the system.