Jobless figures disguise a vulnerable self-employed wo...

Jobless figures disguise a vulnerable self-employed workforce, says Unite

14 May 2014

The rise in self-employment that is helping drive down the jobless total is perpetuating the myth that the newly self-employed are all 'budding Richard Bransons’, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Wednesday 14 May).

Unite argues that many of those now working as self-employed are being forced down this precarious route because the necessary permanent full-time jobs are not there.

Since the end of last year (October-December) there has been a jump from 4.37 million to 4.55 million in the number of self-employed. Over the year it has increased by 375,000 to reach 4.55 million.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “This month’s fall in the unemployment figures is to be welcomed, however the myth that those taking up self-employment are all 'budding Richard Bransons’ needs to be exposed.

“Many people are being forced to take up ‘self-employment’ as the permanent, full-time jobs they are qualified to do are simply not there.

“The big concern regarding self-employment is that it is precarious and provides an irregular income. It also forces people out of social provisions enjoyed by those in permanent jobs, such as pensions and paid holidays. People become more vulnerable and worse off.

“This feeds into the overall employment picture where over a million people want to work full-time, but can’t; and where zero hours contracts are widespread and more than a million people are earning less than ‘the living wage’.

“This is not an economy where all our citizens are sharing the fruits of prosperity that the world’s seventh largest economy can generate.”

For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940

Notes to editors:

  • 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.