COMMENTING on the rise in unemployment figures, Dave Prentis, General Secretary of Unison said: ‘Being out of work at Christmas is particularly tough, especially for families. And despite Government efforts to help get young people into work, it is clear that more needs to be done to prevent a lost generation.
‘We have seen billions being pumped into bailing out the bankers, while working people lose their jobs because of the recession they brought on.
‘It is very damaging for young people to be out of work for lengthy periods early in their working life.
‘It’s damaging to their ambitions and longer-term career prospects. At the same time the country is wasting the talents, potential and energy of our young people.’
Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, said: ‘It will be a bleak Christmas in the households of the unemployed and of those who have lost their jobs in this bankers’ recession.’
Unfortunately neither Prentis nor Kenny nor any of the TUC union leaders put forward any policies for dealing with the crisis of capitalism.
Their reactions were simply to shed a few tears for the unemployed, particularly the youth – cold comfort indeed, along with an observation that it would be worse under the Tories.
The number of 16-24 year olds out of work was 952,000 in the three months to October, a quarterly rise of 6,000 and the highest figure since records began in 1992.
The number of 16 and 17 year olds out of work was 195,000.
Total unemployment increased by 21,000 to 2.49 million, the highest level since early 1995.
The number of people out of work for more than a year increased by 49,000 in the latest quarter to 620,000, the worst total since 1997.
The UK’s unemployment rate has now reached a 13-year high of 7.9 per cent. Additionally the number of people classed as economically inactive, including those on long-term sickness or who have given up looking for a job, was 7.9 million, down by 1,000 over the three months but up by 96,000 compared to last year.
It is set to go much higher with the capitalist crisis deepening by the day, and with entire industries such as steel, and motor cars either being put in mothballs, as at Corus, or being shut down, as is being prepared at GM Luton.
The public sector is also set to be culled with over 100,000 more civil servants, and then hundreds of thousands of local government, NHS and postal workers to lose their jobs, victims of privatisation and savage government budget cuts to claw back the costs of propping up the bankers.
This means a zero future for youth. Even the best educated will not be able to get jobs, and will find themselves working for nothing on permanent work experience.
Trade unions shedding a few tears about the situation does not help in any way.
The trade unions must decisively defend their members jobs, wages and pensions, as well as fight determinedly to give millions of youth a future.
This means organising that industrial centres such as GM Luton and Corus Tees-side are occupied to stop closure and a national campaign is launched to make sure that they are nationalised under workers control.
Industries like BA which employers can no longer run at a profit without destroying workers wages, pensions and conditions must also be nationalised and put under workers control.
Trade unions must demand, as well, a programme of public works to build the millions of council homes that are required, and to rebuild the UK’s outdated infrastructure, to provide the work and skilled training that the armies of unemployed youth require at trade union rates of pay and with trade union conditions of service.
This is the way forward. The bankers and bosses must pay for their own capitalist crisis, not the workers. Trade union leaders who will not fight for this programme must be removed and replaced by leaders who will.
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