The Commons Treasury select committee should investigate who are ‘the winners and losers’ in the jobs market, Unite, the country’s largest union, said in the wake of today’s (Wednesday 17 September) unemployment figures.
Unite said that the rosy picture painted by ministers masked the true nature of unemployment in the UK, such as the growing number of people ‘forced’ into so-called self-employment to get off benefits.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “While the fall of 146,000 in unemployment this month, as you would expect during the summer months, is welcome, it is based on record low pay and rising insecure employment which is blighting economic recovery. Pay is running significantly and stubbornly far behind the rate of inflation.
“We would urge the Treasury select committee to hold hearings to investigate who are the winners and losers in this so-called recovery as it is neither as clear cut, nor as rosy as the government likes to portray.
“There are serious questions to be asked whether we are on the road to recovery, bearing in mind there are 4.5 million self-employed, the widespread and insidious use of zero hours’ contracts, and with hundreds of thousands of young people losing hope of a future with a decent job.
“We should not forget that, in this week alone, nearly 12,000 jobs are under threat at Phones 4U and Birmingham City Council.
“A key area for MPs to investigate should be the long term trends and changes to the UK labour market and who is benefitting or not, and whether these changes are desirable for the future economic health of the nation’s workforce.
“Unite would be willing to give evidence to such an investigation by MPs.
“Unite believes that Britain’s workers need a pay rise to generate economic activity, make workers and their families more secure and to lift thousands out of reliance on benefits.”
Commenting on last month’s employment figures, Unite said that the British economy was in a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ situation.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
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.