This week the boss of Huntley Mount Engineering Ltd was jailed after a sixteen year-old apprentice, Cameron Minshull, was killed while working for him in January 2013.
Cameron was employed by the company as cheap labour, earning just £3 per hour working without training or supervision. The machinery he was using had had safety guards removed from it and the protective overalls given to the apprentice did not fit him. He died after his oversized overalls got trapped in an industrial steel-cutting lathe and dragged him into it.
The boss, Zaffar Hussain, admitted a breach of health and safety law – in other words cutting safety measures to make more money out of super-exploited young people on government-funded apprenticeships.
It is capitalism’s unquenchable thirst for profit that brings this kind of barbarism to our society, particularly at a time when the system is riddled with crisis. Young people are being forced to work for a pittance in poor and often dangerous conditions. Horrific cases such as this are the inevitable product of this system. Cameron Minshull was murdered by capitalism.
The boss of the company received an eight-month prison sentence for this murder. This stands in contrast to the punishment handed down to those young people involved in the 2011 riots, which stretched to years for offences such as minor theft. This shows where the priorities of bourgeois justice lie.
Crisis, austerity, low pay and atrocious working conditions. This is all capitalism has to offer young people today. We are faced with the question: do we accept this barbarism, or fight for socialism?
by Ben Gliniecki, MSF Executive