Socialist Worker

Workers face a jobs massacre - and the worst is still ahead

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2718

M&S is one of the latest firms to announce job ucts

M&S is one of the latest firms to announce job ucts (Pic: House Buy Fast/Flickr)


Britain is heading for unemployment levels “not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s”, a think tank has warned. It comes after the economy officially entered a recession.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the economy contracted by 20.4 percent last quarter. It’s the deepest decline since records began in this form in 1955.

Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak said the figures “confirm that hard times are here”.

The new analysis published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) suggests the worst could still be ahead.

More than two million jobs are predicted to go if the government’s furlough scheme ends in October.

The IPPR said nearly three million will still be furloughed by October. It predicted that one million jobs will “be “permanently lost” but said two million could be sustained in the hospitality, entertainment and construction sectors.

IPPR associate director Clare McNeil said, “The chancellor has said he will never accept unemployment as an unavoidable outcome.

“But by ending the job retention scheme too early, and with no plan for protecting jobs in local lockdowns or a second wave, that is precisely what is happening.”

Meanwhile Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said, “We’re already supporting one person every two minutes on a redundancy issue.

“As the furlough scheme ends, that number could snowball. Failure to act risks long-term social and economic scarring.”

Caroline Abrahams from Age UK warned that the number of over-50s being made redundant then completely falling out of employment is already rising sharply.


Figure it out

  • 61 percent of workers on furlough feel worried about their future job security, according to a recent survey for Perkbox
  • 65 percent said that senior leadership should take cuts before axing jobs
  • 47 percent felt safe about the prospect of returning to work

We can beat the landlords

Private landlords in England and Wales will be able to go to courts to begin eviction procedures against tenants from Monday of next week.

That’s the day that an emergency moratorium on evictions ends.

It could see a rush of cases against people who have been unable to pay rent during the Covid-19 crisis, and a rise in homelessness.

Tenants need to organise urgently—it is possible to win.

Hundreds of families in temporary accommodation in east London heard last week that they will have their rent reduced by about 60 percent. It follows a four‑year campaign against their corporate social landlord.

The London borough of Newham announced that “following a series of management issues” some 250 properties would be transferred back to council management.

They had been leased out by the council to the property management company Mears.

The families, who live in Custom House and Canning Town, had struggled to pay their rent, which they described as “sky high”. This worsened during the lockdown.

But now they have shown that resistance can win.


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