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GDP figures: Working people doing the heavy-lifting in...

GDP figures: Working people doing the heavy-lifting in our economy for no reward

25 July 2014

The restoration of the economy to the position it was in six years ago is a sign of progress, but there remain serious causes for concern, the country's biggest union, Unite, said today (Friday).

The latest GDP figures show that the economy has grown by 0.8 per cent, returning the size of the economy to 2008 levels in headline terms. It comes after lost years of stagnation resulting from the government’s austerity policies, leaving greater numbers working harder but getting poorer.

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, warned the government against crowing that its stewardship of the economy has been a success: "Working people are doing the heavy lifting in our economy. They are working harder but getting poorer so if the economy is growing, it is not them feeling the benefit.

"Let's be clear: there has been no economic miracle performed here. Quite simply, as our population grows more people are working but they are working for lower wages with zero-hour, insecure jobs at epidemic level and an historic collapse in living standards not seen since Victoria was on the throne.

"As debt charities have consistently warned, many families are one or two pay cheques away from despair. The 1,224 automotive workers who found themselves dumped onto the dole queue yesterday remind us that decent jobs are still being shed, to be replaced no doubt by low-waged, low-skilled employment.

"Two features of this so-called recovery ought to be ringing alarm bells in Number 10: at the moment we have a wage siege combined with an investment freeze. Basically, working people's graft is not being rewarded in their wage packets but banked by businesses which are hoarding millions.

"So let's not have any complacency today from government. What is needed is some action to get businesses to invest in their workforce. People want secure work and money in their pockets - and until they are delivered we cannot claim to be out of the woods."

ENDS

For further information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065. 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.