Sunday, 16 September 2012
Unemployment the stark reality for many Socialism is the alternative
As part of tomorrow nights lead off at Harlow Socialist party I thought I’d give a brief over look of unemployment, the facts, the causes and the long term effects of unemployment. Currently there are 2.5 million people officially out of work in Great Britain with a million of those being young people. Unemployment statistics published show that the number of people who have been unemployed for more than one year is up 27,000 in the last three months, reaching a total of 887,000. The number unemployed for more than two years is 428,000, up 5,000. 'Back to work' schemes contracted out under the 'work programme' to companies such as A4e - which, despite being stripped of one this week, still holds government welfare contracts worth tens of millions of pounds - are supposed to help people who have been out of work for long periods. The figures also reveal that there are almost six unemployed people for every job vacancy in our economy. The number of vacancies fell by 7,000 to 457,000 in the three months to April. While employment in general increased, the number in full-time employment fell by 13,000 to 21 million. The number who work part-time but want full-time work was up 44,000 in the last three months to 1.3 million - a 149,000 increase since last year. There are also 590,000 people doing temporary work who want a permanent job, up 10,000 in the last quarter. A slight fall in the most recent set of unemployment figures hides the reality facing millions. The fall has only occurred because of an increase in part-time work. And the number of people claiming unemployment benefit is still going up. By the end of 2012 almost a million people will have been out of work for more than a year. There was a slight fall in the number of young people unemployed as well. And yet more young people than ever are now long-term unemployed - showing the failure of the Con-Dems' 'youth contract', aimed specifically at this group. Recent figures showed that the number of unemployed young people across Europe has increased by 50% since 2008. The long term affects of unemployment are staggering if you are long term unemployed as a young person you are far more likely to face unemployment again at an older age. The mental side of unemployment is huge too the number of people who are diagnosed with depression or other such illnesses is shocking when you look at the long term unemployed. We can also look at the under employed. The part time workers who are working part time jobs many taking on two or more just to make a decent wage to live off of. These workers are those who are class as under employed as wish to work longer hours for better pay but are not able to due to lack of jobs. The Socialist Party demands: • An end to job cuts, save our public services • Scrap all slave-labour workfare schemes, a day's pay for a day's work • A minimum wage of £8 an hour for all • Open the books - when company’s claim they can't afford to keep workers on, they must show us where the money has gone! • Massive investment in a programme of public works to create socially useful jobs See www.youthfightforjobs.com As unemployment soars Britain will still have the longest working week in the European Union. The previous New Labour government and now the con-deems today have consistently fought for the right to opt out of EU laws limiting the working week to a maximum of 48 hours. More than four million workers in Britain work longer than that each week in order to make ends meet. This is the lunacy of capitalism - millions thrown on the scrapheap while others work their fingers to the bone. By introducing a 35-hour week with no loss of pay - in other words sharing out the work - it would be possible to dramatically decrease the number of unemployed while simultaneously improving the quality of life of working class people. If this was combined with a massive increase in public services it would be possible to eliminate unemployment. This would allow us to develop a vastly better public transport system, build more housing, and train and hire more teachers, doctors and nursing staff. For example, up and down the country building workers are being laid off. Meanwhile there are five million people, two million households, who are desperate for social housing. Why can't the two be matched up with a massive high quality, affordable, council house building programme? This idea immediately raises the need to nationalise the major building companies under democratic control.