Last Saturday, young trade unionists, activists and socialists joined together to protest against the falsehood of ‘labour activation schemes’ such as Job-Bridge and Gateway which are being presented as a solution to the high levels of youth unemployment in Ireland. The march was organised by Mandate Youth and Scambridge as well as being supported by ourselves, USI, We’re Not Leaving, CWU Youth, CYM, the Socialist Party, Sinn Féin and an assortment of others. Around a hundred people gathered together at Central Bank for some short speeches before making the march to the Pearse Street social welfare office to highlight the injustice of these approaches.
It was excellent to see so many TU youth groups and others joining together to promote the demonstration and putting in a combined effort to build for a reasonable turnout. However, perhaps some lessons could be learned regarding this aspect of the demonstration. Even though the protest was at a reasonable time on a Saturday with plenty of notice, posters around town, advertisements in The Metro and numerous efforts on social media; only slightly more than a hundred people turned up on the day. Considering the size of some of the organisations involved, it seems that greater efforts need to be made to organise young members within unions so that larger contingents can be assembled for future demonstrations.
We would include ourselves in this criticism and aim to make progress over the coming months to politicise young members of Unite and organise them for more activist oriented activity against the threat of forced labour schemes like Job Bridge and Gateway.