The encouraging GDP figures disguise ‘a parallel Britain’ of poverty wages, insecure employment and the explosion in food banks, Unite, the largest union in the country, said today (Tuesday 28 January).
Unite said that while the recent economic indicators, including the drop in the jobless figures, were welcome, there were dangers of a two-tier recovery that would not be shared by millions of working people.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “There are real dangers that the fruits of an economic recovery – and it is still early days – won’t be shared fairly and equally by everyone in the UK.
“For many, the recovery is passing them by as the benefits of growth are being funnelled into the pockets of the wealthy, while people have to struggle with insecure work and low wages - and the use of food banks explodes.
“There are now more people in poverty, who are working, than out of work.
“London and the South East are powering growth, sucking in people from the regions and investment from abroad. We can’t have a recovery based just on soaring house prices and consumer spending.
“We need a balanced recovery and more emphasis on manufacturing – the renaissance in the car industry is the benchmark to aspire to in this sector.
“Big corporations are sitting on massive cash mountains and bosses need to unlock this money in the form of future investment and awarding decent pay rises this year.
“We need to put money into people’s pockets and purses to stop wage increases bumping along at the bottom, currently at a rate of 0.9 per cent.
“We want a recovery for all and an economy that works for all – we don’t want a parallel Britain where only the wealthy reap the rewards from the hard work of the many.”
Unite has repeatedly called for the national minimum wage to increase by £1.50 an hour from the current level of £6.31.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1
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.