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We need UBI now!


As I write this article Britain is in the midst of multiple train strikes. With a cost of living crisis caused by inflation, and Brexit, it’s no surprise that workers such as train drivers are going on strike to demand a rise in wages. https://www.timeout.com/london/news/london-train-strikes-in-december-and-january-everything-you-need-to-know-112822 https://www.mylondon.news/news/zone-1-news/london-underground-tube-london-bus-25657042

However, instead of meeting the demands of the workers, this causes the government to look for an alternative to train drivers. Driverless trains. As time goes by, the likelihood of driverless trains being implemented is coming sooner than we think. It’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter or ‘when’. Scotland has already started their trial of driverless buses. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-61216302

In Glasgow there is already a fleet of driverless trains. https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/technology/exclusive-first-look-inside-glasgow-subways-revolutionary-new-driverless-trains/ar-AA14tw10

But what about the train drivers who have been driving trains for decades? What will happen to them when these drivers and rail staff are made redundant? What are they supposed to do? What job can they possibly transfer their skills to? Most of these workers are not exactly young, they’ve been working on the rails for years. Working long hours no doubt. They have skills and knowledge that are valuable only to the train network. Once the driverless trains arrive they will have nothing to transfer their skills to. Or they will end up working jobs that are not relevant to their knowledge and backgrounds that don’t pay the same rate they used to earn. When we take into account the age of the workers, there is a chance that some of them are not even computer literate. In a world that requires computers for almost everything, these people are going to be left behind. Since they are not young, they will be on the receiving end of age discrimination. According to Age UK youth ends at the age of 35 and old age starts at the age of 59. This makes the people within this age bracket more vulnerable to age discrimination. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/latest-press/archive/age-uk-research-shows-age-discrimination-is-rife-in-europe/

Universal Basic Income will provide a safety net for those who lack the skills to get the jobs the market requires. It will also protect them from age discrimination. According to ONS, although the number of non-internet users is decreasing there is still up to 5 million people who don’t know how to use the internet. When you look at the age range of computer user, the older the user, the less computer literate they are. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/householdcharacteristics/homeinternetandsocialmediausage/articles/exploringtheuksdigitaldivide/2019-03-04

Reasons for not using the internet 65% say they don’t need it 10% due to lack of skills There are almost 5 million people in the Britain who are not computer literate. Most of them are older generations. According to traindriver.org, the retirement age for a train driver is from 60 to 65. That is if they meet the minimum health requirements. https://www.traindriver.org/medical-standards-age-limits.html

Suppose someone was on UBI for a period of time while they learned a new skill to enable them to get a new job, but then shortly after being made redundant, they have a financial safety net to fall back on. As long as welfare in general covers the basic foundations of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs such as food and shelter then it’s not a problem and UBI will be an overall benefit. Getting back to UBI, this will give people a chance to evaluate themselves and work on the skills they can work on in order to find new job. UBI is a good safety net for those less fortunate. If people want more money, then it is better to get a job. Allow people to develop another skill, this will reduce anxiety and they won’t have to worry about feeding themselves. One can take up and IT class, or learn a course in plumbing, or maybe even get into teaching. Having spent years and a lot of money to get the skills in order find work in those fields, all of that was wasted. Instantly. Let’s say you’ve been doing one job for years, and then you get replaced by a machine. What happens when you cannot get a job because of your age? Age discrimination source: https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/articles/2021/october/21/age-discrimination-in-the-uk-employment-market This is why Universal Basic Income has become an urgent need to protect workers and and the families who depend on them from poverty. In a world where someone’s knowledge and skills, which takes years of practice to obtain, that can be obsolete any moment, Universal Basic Income has become a human right. Right now, you may be wondering why someone like me would be writing such an article. When I graduated in 2008, I had the skills to become a graphic designer and a web designer. It took me 3 years to gain knowledge all the knowledge and skills for 3D animation, video editing, graphic design, and web design. I knew HTML, and the basics of CSS and Javascript. I knew how to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator as well as flash and Indesign, 3DS MAX, Premiere Pro, Combustion, and flash to name a few. Young, fresh out out of university, energetic, and bursting with ideas, I was ready to learn anything new and self improve along the way. When I applied for jobs within my field, employers would turn me away because of my lack of “work experience”. My search continued, I did not give up. I decided to work as a freelance graphic designer. I had to go out there and find clients to designs logos, business cards, websites, and flyers for them. But then, two things happened which made my search for a job difficult. Wordpress came out and put me out of work. Fiverr came out and put me out of business. That was the end for me. Wordpress Although Wordpress was launched in 2003, it didn’t gain momentum until 2008 when it won the award for “Best of open source software awards: Collaboration” by Infoworld which must have given it massive publicity boost. It was also in 2008 that it introduced a CMS (Content Management System) which made it easy for people to edit their websites without any knowledge of coding language such as HTML or CSS. Shortly after that people started building websites of their own without the need for a web designer. All one had to do was buy a domain name from a company that can also host Wordpress sites. It grew in popularity so fast that as of writing, there are 455 million websites that use Wordpress. https://writersblocklive.com/blog/how-many-websites-use-wordpress/#stat1

Fiverr Fiverr arrived in 2010. By offering services as cheap as $5, it fulfilled a demand in the market where people can get logos, business cards, and all sorts of graphic design fast and on the cheap. It doesn’t matter if anyone had the creativity, the skills and the knowledge of visual communication. The soul purpose of Fiverr was to provide fast services for low prices. During that time I had been working as a freelance graphic designer trying to sell my services for low budget prices. It was hard to grow a client base when most people didn’t want to pay for my services. By the time I joined Fiverr to sell my graphic design services, it was too late. There were already too many people with portfolios bigger than mine who worked on a lot more projects than me, this granted them lots of 5-star reviews, thus nobody was going to trust a newcomer like myself on the site when there are already lots of professionals and amateurs who are already on there working on multiple projects. That was the end for me. Through no fault of my own, my career ended before it even began. My skills were redundant shortly after I graduated. How was I going to make a living? Not wanting to give up I carried on working as a freelance graphic designer. But it was no use. I then branched out into IT by offering to repair computers. But I couldn’t get a job in this field either. I was on the verge of giving up. I became desperate for a job. Any job. Beggars cannot be choosers. So now I work in recruitment. A job which didn’t require any of the skills I spent years acquiring. Now, as I type this, there is www.Canva.com. On this one website you can design flyers, business cards, posters, along with a variety of stationary as well as presentations, social media posts, videos and more. All these things can be done with a wide selection on templates, videos and stock photos. All for as little as £99 per year. https://www.canva.com/pricing/

Previously a graphic designer had to know how to make all the above from scratch. Today an average freelance graphic designer £20 per hour. https://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Freelance_Graphic_Designer/Hourly_Rate

The choice is simple: Either hire a pro at expensive price, or simply create an online account do all the graphic design by yourself at a fraction of the price. Despite all of the above I consider myself lucky now that I have a job. I work in recruitment, in a field that has nothing to do with the subject I studied in. Despite having spent years gaining all the skills to get the job I wanted, I am now working elsewhere. I’d rather be tired than broke. And like any man should, he makes the best of what he has. But not everyone is as fortunate as I am. Not everyone is lucky. This brings me back to the rail workers I was talking about earlier. What the rail staff do once they are made redundant after driverless vehicles replace them? How will they survive while they look for work in a different field? This uncertainty causes anxiety and stress which will lead to a lack of motivation and depression. This will impact their mental health. Where will they get their next pay check from? How will they find a job with the skills they have now that are no longer needed? How will they be able to financially cope? If we don’t have answers to these questions; This is why we need UBI now! #ubi #universalbasicincome #london #strikes #strikeaction #workers #unemployment #mentalhealth #finance #financialhelp #uk #britain #work #driverless #trains #buses #publictransport #skills #transfer #jobs #careers #life #benefit #humanity

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