4.30-5.30pm Wed 16th December, outside Dept Employment & Learning, Adelaide St, Belfast Download the poster Plus: WE DEMAND JOBS AND A FUTURE!; Survey reveals super-exploitation of young workers; Nosferatu Empey attacks young unemployed; Step Backward in job creation

Youth Unemployment Soars to 20%
By Padraig McGeown, Lurgan Socialist Youth

Recent figures released show us what we have all been anticipating. Youth unemployment has risen yet again. 20% of young people in Northern Ireland are now officially unemployed and this figure is likely to continue to rise. In reality though, the amount of young people out of work is much higher, as the official figures do not include the amount of the youth workforce deemed “economically inactive”.

Employment and Learning Minister Reg Empey recently described young people out of work as “vampires”, but who are the real vampires? The young people forced to queue up at the dole office, or the greedy and corrupt bankers and politicians who put them there? The Assembly continues to look the other way as more and more young people lose there jobs, and they do nothing to provide more work for them. The Assembly promised to create 6,500 jobs, but we have seen little or no action to fulfill this promise. Even if these jobs are created, tens of thousands of young people will still be out of work.

It is an absolute disgrace that even well educated youngsters cannot find a decent job. Even those who do well, go to university, study hard and get a degree still find it very difficult to find suitable work. And they have a five figure debt hanging over them to boot! It’s about time that the Assembly woke up to the problems of the young, and the population in Northern Ireland in general. There are many ways in which the Assembly could easily provide work for the unemployed, and it’s about time they did!

One of the simplest things the Assembly could do, and do in no time at all, is to build more social housing. With the building trade at an all time low, the Assembly could easily breath new life into housing by starting a massive campaign to restore Northern Ireland’s delapidated housing and to construct new ones. Projects to help maintain roads and train the young in new skills would also easily provide employment.

Why should we fork out billions to prop up greedy banks, when little money goes towards helping young people find jobs? It’s about time that the goverment sorted out it priorities and started to really tackle the rate of unemployment. After all it is us who pay the bulk of the taxes – us who buy the products and stimulate the economy – and it is us who paid billions so a few gambling addicts could keep gambling. We need a campaign to force them to act. Sign up fo the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign at and tell Peter Robinson, Martin McGuiness and Reg Empey, we demand a decent job!

Survey reveals super-exploitation of young workers

By Tyler McNally, Fermanagh Socialist Party

Did you know that you should be getting an uninterrupted rest of twelve hours between working days? Did you know that if you work part time 3 days a week that you are entitled to 17 days Holiday per year? If not, you are not alone because a survey carried out by the Youth Fight for Jobs Campaign in Fermanagh showed that a truly shocking 87.5% of working young people knew a negligible amount of rights!

Without surprise, these people are the workers who are being super-exploited by their bosses. Some didn’t even realise it until they were approached to fill out the survey. When we think of exploitation, we think of sweatshops and small children. But do not be dismissive, it happens closer to home. It happens in the small corner shop, the local pub, the big supermarket. It can range from being pressured into working shifts you wouldn’t want to do yourself to not being paid the minimum wage or not being paid the total amount for the hours you have worked. It is an absolute disgrace that this is going on in Northern Ireland!

Anger at exploitation is rising. Out of the people asked, a strong majority are angry at the lack of promotion on behalf of employers and the government on the issue of young worker’s rights. And they are justified in their anger. If these people were told about these rights then they wouldn’t have been left in the position they now find themselves sin. Imagine working 17-21 hours a week and then studying A-Levels on top of that. The recommended hours by universities is 15! And even then that’s a lot for a student!

The Youth Fight for Jobs Campaign is offering young workers advice. If you feel exploited or unsure about your rights at work, you can contact us at 90311778.

Nosferatu Empey attacks young unemployed

By Nikki Bogues, Socialist Youth Belfast

As the figure for youth unemployment is revealed at 47,000, the minister for employment, rather than apologise for his failing employment system, instead contents himself by making damning comments about the young people he has let down. His choice to use the word ‘vampire’ is hypocritical on a number of levels, particularly as, with his waxy complexion, dark, sunken eyes, and sinister smirk, Reg Empey does look as though he may be a member of the living dead himself. Having drained the economy of £66,831.42 for Office Cost Allowances in 2007/2008, Empey clearly doesn’t see the hypocrisy in complaining about young unemployed relying on benefits at a time where there are no jobs for them. Nor does he appear to at any time in his comments to the Belfast Telegraph to admit his role, as minister for employment, in allowing youth to reach such a staggering number. Instead he resorts to sweeping statements about the lifestyles of younger people, trying to pass the blame from himself onto the victims of an economy in crisis and a failing minister for employment.

These comments were made hours after a Youth Fight for Jobs picket outside Adelaide House in Belfast in response to the youth unemployment figures. At a time when there is huge competition for every job, young people are at a constant disadvantage against those with years of experience. Nor have they had a chance to benefit from the years of economic ‘success’ preceding such a downturn. Reg Empey needs to realise it is him who is failing the young unemployed and do something about it, rather than hiding in the dark and calling the young vampires.

Step Backward in job creation

By Patrick Leathem-Flynn

“Step Ahead” is a new hairbrain scheme from the Department for Employment and Learning supposedly to tackle the rise in unemployment, in particular amongst young people in Northern Ireland. It is an appendage of the laughable “Steps To Work” programme. The Darklord, Reg Empey claims it will create 1,000 jobs for people on Job Seekers Allowance. However, it is nothing of the sort. Step Ahead will mean people on benefits being forced to work for six months in the voluntary and community sector on the minimum wage. 1,000 unskilled “jobs” will be created at a cost of £4million. After six months, there is no promise of a job. It does nothing in fact to create real jobs. What it will do however is impact on the official unemployment figures which are haunting the Assembly as they rise each month, especially for young people. It will also potentially benefit businesses involved in the “voluntary and community” sector as a source of cheap labour.
Their solution to this increasing trend in un-employment is minimum wage paid menial jobs for six months at a time – then back on the dole. What we really need are productive, well paid jobs, not un-skilled temporary low paid jobs with no future.
This scheme is taking a step back in trying to tackle youth unemployment as all it serves to accomplish is a temporary fudging of the unemployment figures and the achievement of menial work at low cost. And if Empey thinks it’s so great, he can try it out first!

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