UNEMPLOYMENT is set to soar to levels not seen since The Great Depression, the ‘Hungry 1930s’, when workers starved.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is predicting four million unemployed, or an unemployment rate of 13.2 per cent. However, as the economy collapses under the weight of a national debt of over two trillion pounds, the real unemployment figure may well reach as much as 10 million during next winter.
On Thursday, the Tory government’s contribution to furloughed workers’ wages was cut, marking the beginning of the end of the scheme. Thursday was also the deadline for firms to issue redundancy notices before the furlough scheme ends on 31 October. Jobs will go by the million!
The arbitration body ACAS produced a new study showing one in three bosses is set to sack workers in the next three months. With a month to go until the furlough scheme closes, 37% of more than 2,000 managers polled by YouGov said they were likely to make staff redundant by the year’s end.
The oil company Royal Dutch Shell and the TSB bank on Thursday announced almost 10,000 job losses between them. They joined a host of other large companies that have announced tens of thousands of UK job cuts, including airlines such as British Airways and easyJet, retailers including Marks & Spencer and John Lewis, manufacturers such as Airbus and Rolls-Royce and Jaguar Land Rover.
Under the new job support scheme, Sunak announced that the government would pay up to 22% of the wages of workers on reduced hours, with the employer supplying 55% of a worker’s pay, pay if workers work a third of their normal hours, taking a huge wage cut.
The Resolution Foundation thinktank underlined what it called ‘avoidable design flaws’ in the Chancellor’s scheme. This means that it is cheaper for a boss to boycott it, and hire two workers on a part-time basis, rather than retaining one of the workers for a third of their hours.
Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s ‘Winter Economic Plan’ including the ‘Job Retention Scheme’ is seen by bosses as a ‘non-starter’. They prefer the option of sacking their staff and hiring part-timers.
The number of people on Universal Credit soared in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, with 2.7 million claiming by August – a 121% increase since March.
Many of the new Universal Credit claimants are young people. Official figures published in September show that the numbers of under-25s on Universal Credit increased by 250,000 to a record 538,000 during lockdown. They were the youth who worked in the hotels, cafes. bars, pubs and cinemas, all closed during the lockdown.
The surge in new claimants between March and July meant that that one in 13 of the seven million aged between 16-24 years old is now claiming benefits. There are no jobs for youth. The youth are to be used as an army of cheap labour, with bosses trying to use them to sack older workers, and to return to making profits instead of huge losses.
As the economy collapses in Britain, the Tory government is now being backed up by the trade union leaders and the Labour Party who are determined to keep capitalism going and damn the consequences as far as the mass sackings of their members are concerned. The TUC leaders and the Labour Party leaders are signalling to the Tories that they are willing to join a national government.
The Tories are now going for broke to reopen the profit-making capitalist system regardless of the consequences. The schools, the universities, the economy, are now experiencing a a second wave of the coronavirus. The battle to defeat the coronavirus is being dumped under the banner that people, that is the bosses, must be free to make profits no matter what the cost.
The courts re-opened last week to evict a backlog of 170,000 cases of families and single people. People are sleeping and begging on the streets. The Tories are actually creating a Victorian underclass of jobless, homeless, the destitute and starving.
This is a class war. The rulers are determined to claw every penny of the two trillion debt off of the backs of the working class and the youth.
The political crisis is one of leadership. Join the WRP and the YS to build a revolutionary leadership to mobilise the working class to smash capitalism to go forward to socialism and a much, much better world!