Youth Fight for Jobs Scotland together with the PCS Young Members Network is organising a March for Jobs and Public Services against Austerity. The march will begin at Stirling Castle on Wednesday 17th October and end by joining the mass demonstration called by the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) on Saturday 20th October in Glasgow. We interviewed Ryan, a young private sector worker who has experienced exploitative flexible work contacts and regular unemployment. Ryan is based in Glasgow and is the Chief Steward on the March.
Describe your experience as a casual worker in the private sector
I work for a small firm that provides security. I have a zero hour contract, sometimes I work over fifty hours a week, sometimes not at all. I often don’t know my shifts until the night before, and I usually work one split shift a week spending most of the 24 hour in the workplace. Every job I’ve had since leaving school has been low paid and a wage I can’t really live decently on. I’m 23 so I will get an increase to £6.19 an hour when we are marching, even with this, (the highest wage I’ve ever earned) I have to choose what bills I can afford to pay each month.
How did you come to be in this situation and are you in the same position as your mates?
When I left college I wanted to be a building surveyor, I’ve got mates who are electricians, heating engineers who are in low paid , low skilled work , I even know a guy who is a trained accountant who is stacking shelves in Tesco’s. A lot of my friends have ended up in the security industry after being unemployed. I was on the dole on and off for about two years before getting an SIA licence. The industry is supposed to be regulated, but it’s like the banks! The companies are supposed to police themselves. You’ve got a monopoly like G4S sitting on the licence board and they crush out the small companies like the one I get work with, the guy I work for doesn’t make much more than me. You also get guys working doors without licences who know gangsters, security is supposed to make the public safe!
Why did you decide to get involved with the March and Youth Fight for Jobs?
I think the demand for a massive public home building and renovation program to solve the housing shortage and put skilled workers and those who want to learn a trade back into work is important. Like I just said I could find you engineers, plumbers, surveyors who are wasting their skills guarding someone’s private property, why can’t our skills be used to benefit society? Affordable housing is desperately needed. I’ve only just moved out from my parent’s place. I had to stay as my dad was out of work and my mum is low paid the crisis is effecting everyone. I’ve had to move across the city away from my mates. Most of my income goes on rent to a private landlord and paying back the money I lent for a deposit.
What do you want the March to achieve?
I’m not naïve enough to think the politicians will listen to our demands. Look at what they’ve had to do in Egypt to change their lives it’s going to be a long struggle to build a mass movement to change society but this March can play a role in getting youth involved. We need to build a fight back side by side with the trade unions. They have got to do more in industries like mine, I’ve joined Unite and I hope some of what we’re doing will show the leaders young people want to get involved.
Join the Scottish March for Jobs and Public Services against Austerity
Stirling to Glasgow 17th-20th October
Contact Youth Fight for Jobs Scotland
to get involved, for info and to support the march
Twitter follow YFJ Scotland