Paul Nowak offers brutal takedown of Telegraph columnist over Gen Z workers

'Maybe it’s about time that those who can stand up for young people do, rather than punching down'

Paul Nowak TUC leader workers rights

Paul Nowak has given a scathing comeback to a column in the Telegraph by a privileged journalist who claimed her early career ‘hustle’ put Gen Z to shame. 

The general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) received praise online for his reaction to the Telegraph comment piece in which the aristocrat author seemed oblivious to her privilege, while taking a bash at young workers. 

Nowak started with the disclaimer he was “not your average Telegraph reader” but that he felt compelled to react to the article by Sophia Money-Coutts titled ‘Gen Z are an employer’s nightmare – my twenties put them to shame’, for its “lazy stereotypes” and to speak up for young workers. 

He highlighted Money-Coutts background, as the daughter of Eton-educated Crispin Money-Coutts, 9th Baron of Latymer, of the Coutts family who founded the private bank used by the ultra-wealthy. And she’s also the grand-daughter of Bill Deeds, former editor of the Telegraph. 

In her column, Money-Coutts claims ‘Gen Z are increasingly aware of their rights and exercising them’ (“How dare they” responded Nowak) and accused young workers of not wanting to work long days and wanting a ‘life outside the office’.

“In what world is that a bad thing?” asked Nowak. “What’s wrong with having a life outside the office?” 

Money-Coutts talked of her early hard graft working for major news outlets, with her first proper job on the Evening Standard features desk where she said she stayed late and came in sometimes ‘extremely early’. The example she gave was being obliged to stay until 4am in a West End nightclub to get a quote from a disgraced MP’s son.

Nowak responded: “Am I the only one who thinks partying in a West End club doesn’t exactly sound as taxing as say a shift in a care home or on an assembly line.”

In a video on social media Nowak hit back: “While no one should have to work unpaid overtime, the reality is workers aged 18-24 tend to put in an extra eight and a half hours of free work per week by starting early and staying late or working during breaks or lunchtime. 

“When are we going to stop attacking young people, when are we going to value the work they do, the contribution they make. 

“Many would have had to start work during the covid pandemic, they’ve been priced out of decent housing, they’ve had to deal with inflation and the cost of living crisis as well as the longest squeeze on wages in 200 years. 

“Not everyone can rely literally on the bank of mum and dad, not everyone can drop a name so loudly it can be heard on Mars.

“So maybe, just maybe it’s about time that those who can stand up for young people do, rather than punching down.”

Watch the full video here.

(Image credit: Hervé Cortinat / OECD)

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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