“The ink isn’t dry on the pay deal and BT management are already trying to tear up our contracts by changing the working week to 7am-11pm, Monday to Sunday. This will put a lot more pressure on staff already finding it difficult to cope. It also means the end of flexible working hours which many workers depend on to be able to take care of children. A consultative ballot delayed due to the pay talks is to resume over BT’s proposals.”
Considering that the so-called “green shots of recovery” have failed to appear in the economy and with major questions marks over the European and world economy, the decision of the Assembly to make £4billion cuts is economic madness. Even before the Assembly Executive begins to carry out these cuts, the scale of actual unemployment is truly shocking. The number of unemployed persons in December 2010 was 68,000 (8%), up 18,000 over the year. Nearly 50% have been unemployed for a year or more. The unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds is at 22.5% – up 10.5% over the past year.
The blatant way in which young people were singled out as easy targets in the recent budget was a draconian and discriminatory attack by the government.
The question they faced was clear- from which group in society could they take the most and expect the least backlash? The young unemployed- the most isolated, unorganised, inexperienced and therefore vulnerable group in society were an obvious choice.