Union leaders are shocked by jobless figures!

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Trade union leaders have been shocked by the latest jobless figures which saw a leap in part-time working and female and youth unemployment.

Commenting on the latest unemployment figures published on Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘Today’s figures show the labour market is on the turn despite strong growth earlier in the year.

‘We could be seeing the start of a second wave of rising unemployment, with women and young people already reeling from the cuts.

‘Female unemployment has been rising for over a year and is now over a million.

‘With hundreds of thousands of jobs set to go in the female-dominated public sector, women look likely to suffer rising joblessness for some time to come.

‘The job prospects for young people are equally grim.

‘Youth unemployment increased by 14,000 in August alone and over 200,000 18-24 year olds have now been out of work for over a year.

‘Instead of fighting internal departmental battles over the costs of welfare schemes that will come into effect years down the line, the government needs to focus on helping the millions desperate for a job now.’

Commenting on official unemployment falling slightly over the past three months, Dave Prentis, Unison General Secretary, said: ‘This is the false calm before the storm.

‘Next week the Chancellor will lay the groundwork for adding 750,000 public sector workers to the dole queues.

‘The knock-on effects to the private sector will be huge. Pricewaterhouse Coopers predicts nearly a million jobs could be lost, and economic output will plummet by £46 billion.

‘The Chancellor must return to the drawing board.

‘His plans will wreak havoc with the recovery and drag the country back into recession.

‘Millions will be condemned to long-term unemployment, there will be no private sector jobs for those who have lost their public sector jobs; both sectors will meet each other in the dole queues.

‘Huge numbers of people unemployed will be a huge drain on the public purse. Less people working means less tax being paid.

‘Local economies too will miss out on vital spending going through their tills.

‘The consequences for society will be huge.

‘The cuts will be deeply regressive, hitting women, the elderly and lone parents hardest.

‘Young people will suffer, and the threat of a lost generation looms large.

‘It is a disgrace that the Chancellor is ploughing ahead with his damaging plans when there are real alternatives.

‘Clamping down on the tax dodgers, taking action on the tax havens, and getting the banks to pay their fair share towards the recovery by imposing a Robin Hood Tax would raise billions.’

Prentis repeated his plea in the wake of a report from insolvency firm Begbies Traynor, showing that 50,000 private companies are at risk because of the cuts.

He said: ‘The government’s public spending cuts are poisoning the country’s chance of economic recovery.

‘They are putting hundreds of thousands of jobs in the private sector at risk. The public and private sectors are interdependent and by hitting one you damage the other.

‘Today’s red flag warning, comes on top of a report yesterday from Pricewaterhouse Coopers, which put nearly a million jobs at risk.

‘The government cannot ignore the growing body of evidence that their spending cuts are deeply damaging to both the private and public sector.

‘Before it is too late the government must re-think its obsession with cutting public spending.’

Unite was shocked by 4,500 job cuts announced by the taxpayer-supported Lloyds Banking Group.

Unite national officer, Cath Speight, said: ‘It is an absolute disgrace that Lloyds Banking Group which is being kept alive by the taxpayer is cutting more jobs and moving these jobs out of the UK.

‘It is now time for the government to step in and demand answers on behalf of taxpayers and staff.

‘The announcement of 4,500 job cuts today lets down its staff, customers and taxpayers with no acknowledgement of Lloyds Banking Group’s social responsibilities.

‘This bank is racing around the globe in their pursuit of profit.

‘Instead of moving jobs from this country they should wake up and realise the importance of its skilled workforce.

‘Since the taxpayer stepped in to keep this bank afloat, the management has shown no acknowledgement for the dedication of its staff who have ensured it can continue to service its customers, instead rewarding them with over 20,000 job cuts.’

Meanwhile, the civil servants’ union, the PCS, was appealing for ‘green jobs’.

It said: ‘Instead of cutting public spending, the union believes the government should invest in public services, sustainable transport and renewable energy.’

The union is joining MPs, other unions and environmental charities to launch the One Million Climate Jobs pamphlet.

Chris Baugh, PCS assistant general secretary, and MPs John McDonnell and Caroline Lucas, will attend the event at the House of Commons tomorrow from 6-8pm.

The document says the government should establish a ‘national climate service’ and create one million jobs to specifically tackle climate jobs – for example, refitting buildings, in renewable energy, transport, agriculture and education.

The pamphlet, published by the Campaign Against Climate Change, says this would reduce carbon emissions by 76 per cent, and could be funded by savings on paying benefits and increased tax revenue; properly tackling the billions of pounds in tax that is avoided or evaded every year; and adopting a Robin Hood Tax on currency transactions.

Investment in green technology, sustainable public transport and renewable energy form part of PCS’s case against public spending cuts, published last month.

Climate jobs are those that cut down the amount of greenhouse gases put into the air and therefore slow down climate change.

The union points out that only 2.2 per cent of UK energy comes from renewable sources, compared with 8.9 per cent in Germany, 11 per cent in France, and 44.4 per cent in Sweden.

The UK also lags behind much of the rest of Europe in the development of a high-speed rail network, which would reduce carbon emissions by shifting passengers and freight away from road and air travel.

Much of the country outside London and other major cities also needs investment in bus and tram services. As well as investing in electric car technology, we should also develop electric bus and tram networks.

‘One Million Climate Jobs’ shows the government should be creating jobs that put people and the planet first, the PCS concludes.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘Investing in climate jobs and technologies, such as renewable energy, has the potential to create thousands of jobs and reduce carbon emissions.

‘It is time the UK made serious investment in green technology to help grow the economy and safeguard the country’s prosperity now and for future generations by creating one million climate jobs.’

Instead of fruitless pleading to government to change its ways, trade unions must organise a general strike to bring Cameron and his cronies down and go forward to a workers’ government and socialism.

Leaders who refuse to do this must be replaced those who will.

News Line calls on all those serious about defending jobs and services to back the Young Socialists march from Manchester to London on October 30, for jobs, free education and a socialist future.