From the TUC

Election 2015- what it means for young workers

12 May 2015, By

Last Thursday’s general election saw a Conservative majority government voted into Westminster. After having had the weekend for it all to sink in, it’s time to look at what the election result means for young workers.

What we already know:

Decent jobs:
They have no plans to tackle exploitative zero hours contacts, in fact, one of the worst offenders of zero hour contacts, ‘Sports Direct’ ,which employs high proportion of young workers, has done very well out of the Tory election win, billionaire owner, Mike Ashley’s fortune increased by £100m overnight as a result of a surge in the share value.

Workers rights:
The new government is threatening workers rights by introducing severe restrictions on union strike ballots, with young people the group most likely to work in low paid, insecure, unprotected workplaces, this will restrict the power unions have to fight for better terms and conditions.

Youth Unemployment:
The UK will remain the only country in the European Union not to implement the Youth Guarantee, which would guarantee young unemployed people a job or apprenticeship after 4 months out of work, suggesting that it is going to remain very difficult for young workers to get into the jobs market.

Tuition fees:
Will remain the same at £9,000 with the possibility of an increase looking likely.

No rent caps, instead serve attacks on young people’s benefits, including abolishing housing benefit for 18-21 year olds, indicating that young people will continue to be shut out of decent, affordable housing.

The Workfare scheme will mean young people out of work will be made to work for their unemployment benefits and with £12bn of welfare cuts on the horizon, worse is yet to come.

Sounds bleak, but this is no time to throw in the towel or bury our heads in the sand. The fact is young workers will need unions now more than ever. Trade unions remain the best ‘on the ground’ defence against these attacks.

The TUC has a network of young workers, who are well aware of the struggles ahead and are campaigning on issues young people care about such as Housing. We are also looking at the negative effect austerity has had on young peoples’ mental health. We are raising awareness of the worrying increase of young people suffering with mental health issues, an important campaign considering the implications to mental health and well-being the Tory’s attacks may have.

More crucially, the TUC is launching a brand new organising strategy, which will provide extra capacity and support to unions to assist in organising vulnerable young workers in sectors of the economy like retail, manufacturing, food services and hospitality.

Now, more than ever, young people need protection, a vehicle through which they can make themselves heard and participate in collective action, they need unions to stand with them in the fight for decent jobs, fair pay and security, to prevent a lost generation.

This is not time to mourn, it is time to organise.