Britain’s largest union Unite cautioned that the jobs ‘recovery’ was being fuelled by self-employment and low paid, insecure, part-time jobs as it responded to today’s (Wednesday 11 November) labour market figures.
Warning the government that its ‘long term economic plan’ risked being more spin than substance, the union pointed to a long term trend showing increasing numbers of people being forced into temporary work because they were unable to find a permanent job since the economic crisis hit in 2008.
According to official labour market figures there remain 291,000 more people in temporary work now compared to August – October 2008, with the numbers of people saying it was because they can’t find permanent work, up from 26 per cent to just over 34 per cent. An increase of 214,000.
For part-time work over the same period, the number of people saying they are in part-time work because they can’t find a permanent job has soared from 732,000 to 1,257,000.
Unite also pointed to figures for the latest period suggesting that the 100,000 fall in unemployment was being driven by self-employment which rose by 30,000.
Commenting, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “While any fall in unemployment is welcome, scratch the surface and a different picture emerges. We are seeing a re-balancing of the economy away from decent secure jobs to a world where people are increasingly being employed in low paid, insecure work, desperate for the security of a permanent job.
“The government’s long-term economic plan is nothing more than meaningless spin for the millions of workers trying to make ends meet as chancellor George Osborne seeks to take the axe to tax credits.
“On Osborne’s watch greater numbers of Britons face a life of low-waged and insecure work, while decent jobs decline and he cues up devastating cuts of 32 per cent which will steer more people into precarious work.”
On the rise of unemployment in the North East by 6,000, McCluskey added: “This latest rise in unemployment in the region exposes the short sightedness of the government’s inaction in allowing the closure of the Redcar steel mill on Teesside.
“These decent well paid, skilled jobs were the bedrock of the local economy. But the woeful response from the government means that these workers face a future of uncertainty in an increasingly low paid and insecure labour market. The insult in swapping these decent jobs for low waged service sector ones will not be forgiven.
“With the steel industry in crisis the government needs to intervene and secure its long-term future with an industrial strategy that preserves decent quality jobs in manufacturing. The government also needs a plan for decent jobs and decent work if it is to truly re-balance the economy.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
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