Monthly Archives: June 2011

Building the march in the East Midlands

Support has been growing in the East Midlands for the March for Jobs, especially amongst the trade unions. Many workers who are preparing to take strike action on 30th June support young people fighting for a future.

Becci Heagney, East Midlands Organiser

The Jarrow March is now supported by Leicester and District and Lincolnshire Trades Councils and by PCS regionally. Also, a number of local union branches of UCU and Unite and the Students‘ Union at University of Leicester. Youth Fight for Jobs members speaking at the union meetings have received a lot of encouragement and enthusiasm from workers shown in the donations we have received from branches. The march will be a united protest of workers and young people against this government.

We have also been planning events for when the march comes through the region. There will be a regional demonstration in Nottingham, with transport organised to the protest from elsewhere, and public meetings and rallies in other towns. In Leicester, a group of activists in ‘Reds Stage’ will be performing a production about Amos Sheriff, one of the leaders of the 1905 unemployed march from Leicester to London. The original Jarrow marchers were inspired by marches such as this as are many people today.

A number of organising meetings have been held to bring together young workers, unemployed people, students and trade unionists. At our recent meeting in Leicester, we were joined by the Regional Industrial Organiser and chair of the regional youth committee for UNITE. Both are hoping that their union can support the march regionally.

Youth Fight for Jobs members im the East Midlands will continue to build for the march against unemployment and other attacks on young people and will stand in solidarity with workers taking strike action on 30th June and afterwards to stop the Con-Dem’s cuts agenda.

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Merthyr march for jobs – August 6-8

Tory minister Iain Duncan-Smith blames the unemployed for being out work. Why don’t jobseekers in Merthyr Tydfil just get a bus to Cardiff? he asked last year.

But for every vacancy advertised in Cardiff, there are nine jobseekers living in the city, let alone those outside in places like Merthyr who are looking to commute. But Iain won’t let the facts get in the way of his ideological campaign to make ordinary working class people and the most vulnerable in society pay for the economic crisis.

Merthyr Tydfil has the fourth-highest level of youth unemployment in Britain. Youth Fight for Jobs Wales protested when IDS came to Cardiff, and this August we will demonstrate that the unemployed aren’t out of work because they’re lazy by marching the whole distance from Merthyr to Cardiff. In October of this year we’ll be recreating the Jarrow-to-London march on its 75th anniversary.

Contact us if you want to march alongside us to demand decent jobs and opportunities for young people, or if your trade union branch or organisation can donate to help us finance the campaign. Contact us via the facebook group – http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_121580154593194

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Blog improvements

This week has been the best week for the blog so far. As we get closer to the start of the march, interest is clearly picking up.
We’ve added a number of new features and got rid of adverts on the blog. You can also now get to the blog using the new website address http://www.jarrowmarch11.com .

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NCAFC backs Jarrow March 11

Youth Fight for Jobs and Education welcomes the decision at last weeks National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) conference to
support the Jarrow march.

The Jarrow march is about fighting for a future for young people. With 1 million young people unemployed and less than half a million job
vacancies, the demand for job creation is central. But we also fight for access to a decent, free education system and played an important role in the student movement last year, alongside many students and other student anti-cuts groups such as the NCAFC.

We want the Jarrow march 2011 to bring together student activists with unemployed youth, trade union activists and anti-cuts groups to build a united fight back to the governments’ attacks. Many student groups already around the country are getting involved in the march, organising accommodation, events when we arrive in different towns and cities etc. We hope that many more will get involved in the coming months.

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New campaigning material available

After running out of previous material, we’ve now got new posters, leaflets and lots of stickers! Now with the 6 union logos backing the march, and less typos 😉 ! To order some, please contact us on the usual details. If you can afford a donation to help us pay for the costs of these, you can donate online here.

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Jarrow-meter update!

We’ve raised £6,500 towards the Jarrow march now, with another £3,500 pledged or in the post. Thanks particularly to the PCS and FBU unions for their generous donations. Congrats also to East Midlands, London and Southern who have all met their targets – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t raise more! We’ve updated the blog header now with all the union logos backing the march, and would welcome more! We’ve also produced an updated appeal letter to get in to your union branch, students union, anti-cuts group etc. We are more than happy to provide speakers for meetings and to provide more information.

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UCU becomes sixth union to back jarrow march

At its recent conference, the University and College Union, representing academic staff in colleges and universities, overwhelmingly agreed to support the Jarrow march for jobs. They have now become the sixth national union to back the march, joining the FBU (firefighters trade union), RMT and TSSA (transport trade unions), PCS (Public and Commercial Services union) and Bectu (media and entertainment trade union).

We are very grateful to all of the trade unions that are supporting and donating towards the cost of the campaign. Financially it will help us organise what is a big undertaking. But it is also important that the trade unions are actively supporting the struggles of young people and the unemployed for a future. To demand a program of job creation, an end to education attacks and all other cuts, means taking on the entire governments program and this is only possible by uniting with the trade unions.

Employers will attempt to use mass unemployment to hold down wages and attack conditions in work. People desperate for a job could be used to undermine strike action and ultimately lead to worse conditions for all. Thats why Youth Fight for Jobs seeks to link all young people fighting against the cuts, and the wider anti-cuts movement. Thats why many of our members are already building for successful strike action on 30 June and are calling for support from all sections of the movement, from unemployed to student to worker. And thats also why we’re organising to recreate the Jarrow march, to say we won’t be a lost generation, and to fight for jobs and education!

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Press coverage; MPs back new jarrow marchers

press coverage from the Shields Gazette local newspaper; for original article see here

MPs back the new Jarrow Marchers

// POLITICIANS from throughout the UK have backed plans to recreate the Jarrow March of 1936 – including the town’s MP.

Youth Fight for Jobs (YFfJ) will stage a 75th anniversary march from Jarrow to London, starting on Saturday, October 1.

Almost 20 MPs have so far signed a parliamentary early day motion backing the modern march, with Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn also expressing his support for the event.

Mr Hepburn said: “I will certainly be signing this EDM. Anything which highlights youth unemployment and the cuts is to be welcomed.”

But Mr Hepburn revealed he has not been contacted by march organisers, adding: “Obviously, they can’t walk down major motorways and I hope permission is being obtained from police and local authorities.”

Youth unemployment nationally has risen to a record high of almost a million and the aim of the 2011 march is to highlight joblessness among the young.

Ben Robinson, a spokesman for London-based YFfJ, which is backed by the Socialist Party, said: “Statistics reveal that there are currently one million young people who are out of work and we aim to use the march to highlight the issue of joblessness among the young.

“The plan is to set off from the centre of Jarrow on October 1, and march along the original route, as far as is possible, given the modern motorway system.

“The march will reach the centre of London on November 5, when we will stage a big demonstration through the capital.

“We hope around 50 young people will take part in the march from Jarrow, including a mixture of unemployed people and students.”

Other regional MPs who have already signed the EDM include Blyth Valley’s Ronnie Campbell, Wansbeck’s Ian Lavery and Gateshead MP Ian Mearns, plus the outspoken MP for Bolsover, Dennis Skinner.

Mr Mearns said: “As a young Labour Party member, I remember addressing the 50th anniversary protest march in Jarrow in 1986. I think it’s a good thing to commemorate the Jarrow March, as we must not forget history, or we will be doomed to repeat our mistakes.”

The original jobless Jarrow Marchers of 1936, led into London by the town’s then-MP Ellen Wilkinson, received no support from Stanley Baldwin’s government.

Jarrow’s crippling unemployment was not eased until the reopening of the town’s famous Palmer’s Shipyard several years later as part of the war effort.

The early day motion, sponsored by Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell, reads: “That this House expresses its support for the young people who are taking part in the March for Jobs which, in order to draw attention to the high level of youth unemployment, is retracing on its 75th anniversary the steps of the original Jarrow unemployed workers’ march; and calls on all honorable members to support the march, welcoming the marchers whenever they enter their constituencies en route.”

The original jobless Jarrow Marchers of 1936, led into London by the town’s then-MP Ellen Wilkinson, received no support from Stanley Baldwin’s government.

Jarrow’s crippling unemployment was not eased until the reopening of the town’s famous Palmer’s Shipyard several years later as part of the war effort.

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Report of Jarrow marchers meeting

On Sunday around 35 people attended the Jarrow marchers meeting. Groups from across England and Wales met to discuss the Jarrow march for jobs and what needs to be done to organise it. Two journalists attended the meeting including a film director who wants to do a documentary of the march.

Paul Callanan, national organiser of YFJ, introduced the meeting on the current situation facing young people and why the march is needed.

A lively discussion followed with reports on how the situation is hitting all young people; graduates, school leavers and those in employment. A group from Barnado’s in Newcastle proposed writing and recording a song to do with the Jarrow march which was well received.

Ben Robinson, YFJ national chair, then talked about the more logistical issues of the march. He also described the support we’ve received so far with £10,000 of our £26,000 funding target reached through support from trade unions.

Regions then reported on their plans to publicise and build support for the march. These included gigs, meetings, a ‘mini Jarrow’ in Wales on 29-30 July, and plans to approach trade unions for accommodation and food for marchers along the route.

The meeting then broke into regional caucuses to make detailed plans for the build up to the march and events during the march itself, particularly in areas that it will pass through. There were suggestions for regional committees with Jarrow organisers in each city, feeder marches, Skype link-ups with the marchers at solidarity protests and meetings and making sure that marchers are mentally and physically prepared for the challenge!

The weekend was a huge success for Yorkshire YFJ and we raised more money for the Jarrow-meter. All who attended left looking forward to the
Jarrow march and feeling prepared to spend the next few months working hard to make it a success.

videos of Ben and Pauls introductions can be found here https://jarrow2london2011.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/jarrow-marchers-meeting-videos/

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