Us (Youth) vs them (Retired Members)?October 15 2015
Devastating for young people, so hard for young people, unrealistic, these are a few comments made towards the generation of today by our retired members.
Last week, I had the pleasure of being invited to be a guest speaker at the North West Retired Members’ meeting, held at the Greater Manchester branch. After coming out of the meeting I felt infuriated that this government would even think of driving a wedge between the two generations. The Retired Members have the impression that the government is making them look like they are taking a free ride on the back of the workers!!!!!! It’s wrong!!
And it upsets them particularly because they have worked all their lives and now they are getting attacked. But they are fighting a fight that is for our future. They are standing up against this government, but sometimes they feel our generation has been turned against them as well.
The Retired Members section is very passionate, and we, as the youth section, can learn a lot from them. They understand what we are battling: fighting against cuts and privatisation. Some of them, in the past and present, have been through the fight we are now having to take up. That’s why it’s vital we have an understanding and a connection across the different committees. Our Retired Members have the knowledge that we seek. Their first hand experience is priceless.
Zero hour contracts are having a devastating impact on young workers especially, but in fact it’s just the latest way of employers manipulating the workers. The Retired Members can see what’s affecting us as young workers today and sympathise with us because they had similar challenges when they were our age.
Another issue brought up in the meeting was the government attacking pensions, bus passes, and benefits. This is an attack on the youth and the next generation as it will reduce our standard of living when we are older enough to need these things. It’s our future! There was also much discussion on how the minimum wage is now becoming more like a maximum wage in the eyes of many employers.
Our generation needs to be educated on pension issues and understand it quickly. We will all need a good pension but even though that is a long way in the future, it is wrong to leave the fight to the older generation and we can’t expect them to fight the fight alone – it is our future we need to get educated and make a stance.
On the back of this meeting, the North West will now be having a joint meeting between the youth and the retired members’ sections. It will be held in early November with the aim of agreeing a motion to take to youth conference and for the retired members to take one to their annual conference. I look forward to working with them and keeping in close contact: There’s no doubt that we can learn a lot from each other.