75 years after famous unemployment march, 50 young people set out for 330 journey to London
Fifty young people are today marking the 75th anniversary of the Jarrow Crusade by following in the footsteps of the original marchers, walking the 330 miles from North East England to London.
The original march in October 1936 took place to draw attention to the plight of those unemployed people living in an industrial town during a recession.
And as today’s march sets off to the capital via Leeds, Nottingham, Coventry and Northampton, the parallels with today are clear to see.
A spokesperson for the marchers said: “Today, as unemployment and youth unemployment soars, the ConDem coalition is axing jobs and services – that’s why this march is absolutely vital.
“We’re working with trade unions and activists to organise demonstrations, rallies and protests in every town, city and area we visit.”
The march has been organised by Youth Fight For Jobs, which campaigns for the right to a decent job for all, with a living wage of least £8 an hour, for apprentices to be paid the minimum wage and against university fees. It has the backing of the PCS and RMT.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Three-quarters of a century on, the young people recreating this famous march are sending an important message that our communities must never again be abandoned to pay for an economic crisis they did not cause.
“Instead of cutting jobs, pay and working conditions – and hacking away at our public services and our welfare state -the government should be investing to provide work and clamping down on the wealthy tax dodgers who deprive our public finances of tens of billions of pounds a year.
“As we prepare for the largest public sector strike in decades as part of our fight against these cuts, on behalf of PCS, I send solidarity to the marchers and wish them well on their journey for justice.”
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “If the trade union movement doesn’t stand by the young people in the frontline of the Con-Dem attack on jobs and services we will witness a re-run of the Thatcher government’s cynical dumping of a whole generation onto the scrap heap.
“This ideological government of millionaires, backed by big business, could not care less for those who get trampled in their dash to drive a bulldozer through our communities.
“The betrayal of Bombardier shows in graphic terms what’s at stake – apprentices and a state-of-the-art training centre sacrificed in order to appease global finance capital and the EU.
“RMT’s fight for the future of manufacturing jobs in train building, and the apprenticeships that run alongside them, rages on.
“RMT is totally behind the Youth Fight for Jobs Jarrow march and will support it in the towns, villages and cities as it heads down from the North East. RMT will not be found wanting when it comes to solidarity with the youth, and any other sections of our community, in the frontline of the fight back.”
Marchers aim to arrive in London on November 5th, where they will assemble at Temple Embankment at 12noon.
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