News digest 17 February 2014

News digest 17 February 2014

17 February 2014

Today’s top reads: Stories to keep an eye out for:

·             Car worker wage drop casts doubt on the recovery - FT

·             Universal credit claimants not counted in jobless figures, says Labour - Guardian

·             The BoE is wrong to think falling employment signals rising wages – David Blanchflower - Indie

·             Overworked staff at ’24 hours in A&E’ hospital caught sleeping on job - Indie

·             Now men are living longer than women in 100 areas – Express

·             Clegg: I’d do a deal with Ed - Mirror

·             The Tories can be the new workers’ party – David Skelton - Telegraph

Today’s digest opens with the simple question ’Whose recovery?’ after the FT splashes with the front page headline: “Car worker wage drop casts doubt on the recovery “ as it outlines key questions over the so-called resurgence in the car industry which is looking a tad one sided. The article highlights how car workers took a hit on wages and working hours as the industry struggled in the downturn, but the resurgence in the sector has not been factored in to workers’ wages. UK factories have seen production rise by 45 per cent in the past four years, but average salaries have risen by 2.3 per cent, and wages for the lowest paid have actually fallen over that timeframe. However, the average pay increase for a director has been 19 per cent over the same period. That doesn’t sound fair. Unite’s Roger Maddison is quoted, saying: “Companies that can are simply getting away with it … carmakers do need to give something back now the situation is brighter.” It is worth noting that there are 36,000 less people employed in the sector than 10 years ago, so not only have wages been cut, so have jobs, but not it seems excess at the top, time for a proper pay rise.

And the recovery in jobs may not be as it seems, the Indie and Guardian both report that the government seems to be fiddling the figures in terms of unemployment data with people shifted on to universal credit no longer included in the statistics, and David Blanchflower in the Indie also argues that the Bank of England needs to be wary about saying falling unemployment will lead to rising wages, the evidence above seems to show it won’t. The Telegraph does report that the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, does however say that interest rates will only rise when ‘everyone feels the recovery’, that would imply never then, but the powers of the governor may be limited as he is also reported as saying ‘I can’t control soaring UK house prices’ in the Mail, and a number of papers report Carney’s call for banks to rein in bumper bonuses, we all know that won’t happen.

And while the City enjoys excessive pay, it seems workers are facing excessive working hours. The Indie highlights the pressure facing NHS staff with a piece on King’s College Hospital which features in the documentary series 24 hours in A&E. It seems that staff have been ‘caught’ sleeping on the job, but this is not due to laziness, but the fact that the service is stretched to breaking point. Unite’s Rachel Maskell is quoted in the Indie: “With the cuts and restructuring going on in the NHS, people have to work longer hours, under more stress and with less compensation – this is simply unsustainable.” Nuff said.

And finally if you want more evidence of the impact of the Con-Dem coalition on the country, look no further than reports in the Express and Times which say that men are now living longer than women in 100 areas, the stress of more women taking on full time work as well as maintaining their caring responsibilities has seen the gap close. Expect the situation to get worse as the Con-Dem cuts target women ever harder, only one solution and that is to get rid of the Con-Dem coalition, although as deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is quoted in many papers as saying Labour is moving in his direction, one thing that is categorical is a Lib-Lab pact would also be bad for the country, especially with the ‘Yellow Tory’ Clegg and chancellor Osborne’s lickspittle Danny Alexander trying to keep their paws on power, but at least it’s not as bad as David Skelton in the Telegraph who argues: “The Tories can be the new workers’ party”, no chance…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  • Carney urges banks to curb bumper bonuses (p2)
  • Recruitment and pay rises grind to a halt (p2)
  • Floods crisis (p2-3)
  • Universal credit claimants excluded from official unemployment figures (p3)
  • Passengers slam shoddy rail privateers (p4)
  • Crowd flocks to prison paintings by Miami 5’s Guerrero (p4)
  • Working Welsh lose £500 to cuts (p5)

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Minister in battle over £90K expenses bill (p2)
  • Treasury: £7 minimum wage would cost 14,000 jobs (p6)
  • ‘Pilfering’ election would be the end of Ed – Tom Newton Dunn (p8)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Labour moving in our direction, says Clegg (p1)
  • EU chief: ‘All but impossible for Scots top join’ (p4)
  • Corporate leaders ‘alarmed’ at Labour attitude to business (p8)
  • Men catching up with women in longevity stakes (p9)
  • Battered Britain (p10-11)
  • NHS wastes billions on overpriced hospital supplies (p21)
  • William Hill races to find new chief by summer (p37)
  • Angry shareholders want answers over Barclays’ pay (p39)
  • BMI Regional airline ready to rock n’ roll (p43)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Car worker wage drop casts doubt on the recovery (p1/3) – Unite/Roger Maddison cited
  • Barroso warns Scots over EU hurdles (p1)
  • Floods propel climate change debate (p2)
  • Tories face poll pain unless they woo ethnic voters (p2)
  • Osborne talked up wage rise despite job fears (p2)
  • Jobs growth predicted to slow (p4)
  • Labour warned over business backlash (p4)
  • Pressure rising for Barclays (p17)
  • Lloyds in talk for lower ringfence (p18)
  • Volkswagen vote puts brake on union’s ambitions (p20)

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