“While Labour’s leadership is U-turning on policies on areas such as free education and refusing to respect Young Labour in terms of party democracy, young workers and students are suffering the consequences of austerity.”Fraser McGuire
Below we reproduce Fraser McGuire’s speech from the Labour Assembly Against Austerity & Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs fringe meeting at Labour Conference on Socialist Solutions to the Tory Crisis.
Hi everyone, my names Fraser McGuire, I’m a member of Young Labour’s National Committee and chair of a Unite Hospitality regional branch, and pleased to be speaking on behalf of the Labour Assembly Against Austerity.
While the Labour Party leadership is U-turning on policies on areas such as free education, refusing to respect Young Labour in terms of party democracy, and eroding CLP equalities roles, young workers and students are suffering the consequences of austerity.
Young workers face the most restrictive trade union laws in nearly 70 years- alongside poor working conditions, exploitative contracts and falling wages.
Until a few months ago, I was working on just £6.83 an hour- which was the minimum wage for 19 year olds at the time. Organising hospitality workers as well- where so many young workers have their first job has shown me the worst side of our economy.
Just three months ago, national tuition fee debt passed 200 billion pounds, at a time when universities are making annual surpluses of more than 100 million pounds off the backs of high rent and the 9250 a year tuition fees. The higher education system is completely broken.
Education, just like housing, healthcare, public transport, water and energy has shown that privatisation simply does not work, and the neoliberal rhetoric of ‘fiscal responsibility’ is nothing more than the words and ideas of the billionaire class.
Looming behind the immediate issues facing young people; is the climate crisis. Retirement age, getting on the housing ladder, having a good pension, mean little to a generation who are facing an unliveable planet – which is no exaggeration- but the predictions of the world’s leading climate scientists.
We need radical change more than ever- the economic and social crises have accelerated even since 2019. The impacts of the climate crisis are already claiming hundreds of thousands of lives across the global south, and ever more people in this country are being pushed into poverty.
Those of us who know the severity of the issues we face, do not have the right not to fight. Ignoring the issues we face will not make them go away- only radical and transformative change can fix the crises we face. All of us must fight for a green, socialist future.
- Fraser McGuire is the Chair of East Midlands Unite Hospitality, Young Labour’s East Midlands representative and an organiser for Arise: A Festival Of Left Ideas. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
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