Britain’s largest union Unite, today (Thursday 19 June) welcomed Labour’s recognition that young people need access to education, saying it hoped it would herald a revival of a depleted further education sector which is essential for equipping young people with the skills to get a job.
The union went on to caution Labour though, urging it to step away from the Tory rhetoric of sanction and punishment and instead offer a message of hope and opportunity to millions of people who had suffered at the hands of the coalition.
Commenting on plans for unemployment support for young people to be means-tested and eligibility tied to training, Steve Turner Unite assistant general secretary, said: “The recognition that young people need access to education and training is welcome. But the Tory rhetoric of sanction and punishment is not a message that Labour should be taking to the country.
“Our young people did not cause the economic crash and shouldn’t be made to pay for it. Any idea that they want a life on benefits is risible when all they want is a decent job and a future.
“Labour should stay true to itself and its beliefs, which is to build a positive future for Britain and give our next generation hope. Policies based purely on sanction and punishment offer none of this, and give no answers to the chronic problems created for our society by poverty pay and rotten jobs.
“For the seventh biggest economy on the planet it should not be too much to ask that our kids can have a decent job and hope for a home and a future.
“We urge Labour to keep the threats of sanctions and punishment firmly locked away in the 'Not Us, Not Happening' drawer.
“Do what you do best Ed, and come up with a bold plan to give our young people decent jobs and hope for their future, something better than Cameron's disastrous ‘work harder, get poorer’ economy.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.