|The News Line: Editorial
Thursday, 19 July 2012
Coalition putting over-65s to work!
UNEMPLOYMENT has fallen by 65,000 in the three months to May, while the number of newly unemployed in receipt of the JobSeekers Allowance, for which an unemployed person has to qualify, rose by 6,100 in the month of June.
The jobless total is now 2.58 million, while the number of people in employment increased by 181,000 to just under 30 million.
There was an increase of 8,000 in the number of women unemployed, bringing the total to 530,000, the highest figure for 17 years.
Long-term unemployment has also increased, with those out of work for more than two years, up by 18,000 to 441,000, the worst figure since 1997.
The number of jobless for more than a year rose by 3,000 to 885,000, while there were just over a million unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds.
The government policy of keeping youth on the dole and forcing pensioners to work saw a rise of 52,000 in the number of over 65s working, to 929,000, a figure roughly equal to one million 16-24s who are now jobless.
The number of over 65s in work is the highest ever. This plus temporary Olympic workers is the source of the ‘fall’ in the unemployment figure.
The unemployment rate is now at 8.1%, down by 0.2%, but with the number of unemployed 132,000 higher than a year ago.
The numbers of the economically inactive is now 9.2 million people, who are now collectively having their benefits slashed and smashed.
Average earnings increased by 1.5% in the year to May, up by 0.1 percentage points on the previous month, but actually equalling a 0.9% wage cut, if you go by the 2.4% figure for CPI inflation. Wage cutting is continuing.
Those on the average weekly wage, said to be £485 a week, are struggling to survive, while those on the £60-£65 a week JobSeekers Allowance and facing cuts, or the abolition of their benefits, like the housing benefit, are subsisting in acute poverty.
Unite commented yesterday that the long-term jobless totals showed the fate awaiting disabled workers at Remploy factories that are set to close.
General secretary Len McCluskey said: ‘Today’s figures for the long-term unemployed show the fate that awaits Remploy workers as they struggle to find work once the Remploy factories are closed by this government.
‘It is madness for the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, to think that there is work readily available for those disabled workers he is throwing on to the dole queue because of his cruel policies.’
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: ‘Sadly the unemployed cannot and the government should not take comfort from these figures. The Olympic effect may give the impression of a recovery, but it is a mirage. The number of long-term unemployed is still rising, and huge numbers of women and young people are still struggling to find work.’
Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said: ‘These figures demonstrate that Britain’s economy is caught in the mire of a double-dip recession with dire consequences for millions of unemployed workers across the land.’
The outgoing TUC general secretary Barber seems to be living on another planet. He said: ‘These figures are excellent news. People will be relieved to see unemployment falling sharply and redundancies decreasing.’
The issue however is to stop the Remploy workers being sacked, and to defend the working class and youth from the poverty and degradation of mass unemployment.
This requires the trade unions to get off their knees and use their power. For this to happen workers must dump their reformist leaders and organise a general strike to bring down the coalition and bring in a workers government. Only a socialist revolution will put an end to the crisis of capitalism and take humanity forward. There is no other way.
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