Austerity attacks all ages

During Young Workers’ Month Graham shares his thoughts on the challenges faced by people of all ages because of the government’s austerity agenda.

November is Young Workers’ Month across the country and is an important opportunity for PCS young members to showcase our achievements and potential, and to really increase our visibility. The recruitment of more young members is important to guarantee a reliable supply of enthusiastic union reps and activists in the future. The attacks on the pay and conditions of members and the struggles they face show no signs of easing and we need to make sure PCS will continue to be able to campaign and organise strongly going forward.

The recent budget announcement that “Austerity is over!” has done little to reassure those who have been hit hardest. Significant increases in the cost of living and a debilitating lack of affordable housing, combined with a real-terms cut in income, is challenging our members to even make ends meet.

However it is important we remember that austerity affects people at both ends of their working life. That includes those trying to find accommodation or get onto the property ladder and those trying to maintain a reasonable standard of living after leaving work. It’s become all too common for young and old to be pitted against each other with associated, misplaced blame and a culture of division.

All ages working together

The ongoing 1% pay cap and ever increasing state pension ages serve only to further cement our generations in a state of hopeless, stagnant progression. Everyone deserves proper recognition and reward for the hard work they do now, or have done during their working lives. PCS continues to fight for this on behalf of all members. The joint work of PCS ARMs and the Young Members’ Network is an important part of this fight, and crucial to proving we will not be divided.

Our ongoing commitment to each other’s AGMs and seminars, and visibly standing side-by-side at events such as the Durham Miners’ Gala and various marches, rallies and protests, sends a strong message of our united strength. Sandra Durkin, ARMs Midlands secretary, addressed our seminar recently, and spoke about keeping up the fight and inspiring future generations. Sandra’s speech was very well received by everyone. I am proud of our track record of supporting each other, and I look forward to many years of solidarity yet to come.

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