Young people will pay a high price if Job Centres close

Jenni Gunn
Jenni Gunn

#stuc2017 Congress backed the PCS campaign opposing Job Centre closures amidst fears that, particularly in Glasgow, where many of the closures are planned, it will hit young people hard.

First time delegate and speaker, UNISON young member, Jenni Gunn, seconded the motion from the STUC Youth Conference.

She told Congress that young people in Scotland are facing major challenges in the labour market.

“I know because I’m one of them.

“I’ve worked in the care sector for two years and I’ve seen firsthand the hostile conditions forced upon workers in my sector,” she said.

“Zero hours contracts are rife. Full time positions are increasingly hard to find. Wages are low and young workers are still subject to wage discrimination on the basis of their age, being paid less for the same job because they have the audacity to be young.”

Jenni slammed the move to bogus self-employment which cuts people’s entitlement to employment rights, with real term wages at their lowest in decades.

“The closure of job centres across the country paints an even bleaker picture for young workers, who will now be forced to travel further, and spend more and more money to search for scant training opportunities in order to get crap jobs – and that’s if any jobs exist at all.”

And in Glasgow, “Job centres are being ripped out of some of the most forgotten about communities in the city.”

In an echo of Ken Loach, she warned that the DWP holds all of us here – every worker and every citizen – in utter contempt.

“This closure programme is part of a further attack on our movement, one which stands for public good and for collective ownership. It is a closure programme which at its core is about the privatisation and outsourcing of social security.

“By closing job centres in some of the most deprived areas the Tories will push people into further crisis and young people in these communities will pay the highest price.”

Jenni told Congress that our movement is not just for those in work with decent salaries. It is for the Job Centre worker getting bullied every day by a hostile employer. It is for all those vulnerable to the policies of this Tory government, “lacking any semblance of compassion or human decency.”

Jenni ended, “Our movement is my movement, it belongs to the young and the precarious workers too.”

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