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Four on dole for every vacancy

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Issue 1687

Union leaders expose truth on jobs claim

Four on dole for every vacancy

TRADE UNION leaders have slammed chancellor Gordon Brown’s claim that there are jobs for those who want them. The TUC trade union body tears the government’s claim apart in a new report this week, and accuses New Labour of the same fiddles of the jobless figures we saw under the Tories.

“The real figure shows there are four people who want a job for every vacancy,” says TUC general secretary John Monks. Brown claims there are 1.15 million unemployed in Britain. This is based on the claimant count of those getting unemployment benefits. This vastly underestimates the number out of work. There are huge numbers of the “hidden jobless” says the TUC.

Some 28 percent of men over 50-1.3 million people-are wiped off the figures because they have been pushed onto sickness or similar benefits. Another 8 percent of men under 50, one million more people, are also kept off the official unemployment count. The TUC says the real number of people without jobs and who want work is four million. “No one much trusted the claimant count unemployment figures under the last government. It would be a mistake to start believing them now,” says John Monks.

New sums

GORDON Brown claims there are one million job vacancies. The figure is simply invented. It is based on taking the number of jobs officially notified to job centres, 340,000, and then multiplying by three.

Brown should talk to these workers

HERE ARE just a few groups of workers who could tell Gordon Brown what to do with his message that jobs are easy to come by:

  • Rolls Royce axed 154 jobs at its Hillington plant in Glasgow last Friday. The same day it announced profits were up 11 percent to 360 million. “Workers are being sacrificed so that the company can inflate its profits even more,” says union official Frank Carrigan.
  • Grampian Country Foods at Newbridge in West Lothian has announced that 540 jobs are to go. “We feel betrayed,” says one worker. “We have served Grampian’s purposes and been left truly shafted,” added another.
  • Vodafone Scotland told 170 workers at its call centre in East Kilbride, near Glasgow, they face the dole.
  • “We’re all devastated. Whole families work here. Some are already talking about their homes being repossessed.” That is how one worker at the TRW electrical switch factories in Burnley, Lancashire, sums up the reality of New Labour talk of being the “party of business”. Labour’s peer Lord Hollick is on the board of the multinational TRW, which plans to sack 450 workers.

Zones of low pay

DAVID Blunkett was this week set to announce plans to set up 40 Employment Zones. Some 15 will start next month. The projects are to be run by private firms which will profit from the unemployed. Anyone on the dole who refuses to take part will have benefits cut. New Labour is using benefit cut threats to force people to take low paid jobs. Private firms will be paid bonuses for pushing people to take a job, no matter how poorly paid. Companies running Employment Zones include Reed in Partnership.

This consortium will run Employment Zones in Doncaster, Liverpool, and in Haringey and Newham in London. It is made up of Reed Personnel Services, Nat West Bank and the Shaw Trust. NatWest Bank has thrown thousands of bank workers on the dole in recent years. The recent merger of NatWest with the Royal Bank of Scotland threatens 18,000 jobs. Dave Owens, coordinator of the campaign against Employment Zones in Liverpool, told Socialist Worker: “The government aren’t creating the jobs people need. They are just reshuffling the dole queue. Employment Zones are based on US schemes which have seen people left with no benefits at all.”

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