THE PCS civil servants trade union yesterday rightly condemned the coalition government’s plans to force the long-term unemployed, and unemployed youth, to do manual work, which will, in fact, be slave labour with no wages paid, or else lose their benefits and be forced to live on the streets.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘Having created the highest unemployment for 17 years and record youth unemployment, this government is now proposing to further punish and stigmatise the victims of their failing economic experiment.
‘We do not have record numbers of unemployed people because of a sudden collapse of effort or discipline, but because this government has slashed jobs, cut spending and reduced demand.
‘It has no strategy for job creation or economic growth, yet proposes a slave labour workforce.
‘Alongside the creation of these new chain-gangs will be private providers to profit from unemployed people working for an effective rate of about £2 per hour.
‘This policy is legalised exploitation, and would undercut other workers.’
Cameron’s policy is a gift to local authorities and the employers generally, to sack hundreds of thousands more workers, to bring in the slave labourers, and at the same time break trade unionism.
Private providers of slave labour will move on from supplying ‘chain gangs’ for the building, agricultural and construction industries to supply slave labour for industry – once the principle has been forced in.
The issue for the trade unions is that opposition to slave labour is not some act of kindness to the unemployed, it is a matter of life and death for the trade unions, and trade union standard of pay and conditions of service, that the crisis of capitalism is driving Cameron and the bosses to destroy.
The need of the hour is for the trade unions to take up the cudgels for the unemployed now, in the interests of the entire working class, before the employers try to use the ‘chain gangs’ as strikebreakers.
Everybody knows that the economic crisis is worsening and that mass unemployment is a result of the capitalist crisis and not of the refusal of the unemployed to work.
The latest TUC figures show that youth unemployment has increased in 97 per cent of local authority areas in the UK in the last 12 months.
The TUC reveals that the number of young people aged between 18 and 24 unable to find work in the UK has increased in 196 of 202 local authorities since September 2010.
The official unemployment statistics out next week on Wednesday 16 November are expected to see youth unemployment reach one million.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘We’re facing the biggest youth unemployment crisis in a generation with close to one million of our young people unable to find work.
‘With the economic outlook the gloomiest it’s been since the end of the recession the bleak prospects facing young jobseekers look set to be with us for some considerable time to come, unless the government changes course now and brings in immediate measures to support jobs and growth.’
Barber is still appealing to the Tories to adopt a PlanB.
He says: ‘The Chancellor’s plan A has already sent unemployment to a 17-year high. Our young people, and our whole country, urgently need a plan B to get people back into work and the economy back on its feet.’
Meanwhile the UK recorded its biggest trade deficit to date in September, while an August jump in exports has been revised away, new data shows.
Ahead is severe deepening of the banking and trade crisis, and ever more unemployment.
Capitalism is to blame for this situation not the unemployed, and the capitalists must be made to pay for the suffering that their system is causing.
This means that the trade unions must stop tinkering around with the situation and call an indefinite general strike, to unite the unemployed with the employed, to bring down the coalition and bring in a workers government and a socialist planned economy that will provide jobs for all.
Only the WRP fights for this policy. Make sure you join it today to fight for jobs at trade union rates for all and a socialist future.