Tagged: TUC

One Million Workers STILL Can’t Find Full-Time Jobs

Nearly One Million Workers STILL Can’t Find Full-Time Jobs, Says TUC

The number of people working fewer hours than they desire remains nearly a million higher than before the financial crisis, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) claims.

An analysis by the TUC exposes the true crisis of underemployment in Britain today, revealing the shocking number of part-time workers who can’t find full-time jobs.

Underemployment has risen sharply since the recession, reaching a staggering 3.4 million in early 2014 – compared to 2.3 million in 2008.

Despite falling slightly in the last year to just under 3.3 million by early 2015, underemployment is still more than 900,000 higher than pre-recession levels.

TUC’s findings come ahead of the latest unemployment data, which will be published by the Office for National Statistics later this week. This is expected to show a continued improvement in the employment rate. However, the TUC warns that ‘too many poor quality jobs’ have left the issue of tackling underemployment ‘stuck in the slow lane’.

Full story : http://northstar.boards.net/thread/97/workers-find-full-time-jobs

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How many Cabinet members would have failed the trade union ballot test?

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from Union Solidarity International

The list of Cabinet members who failed to secure 40% of the vote. They would not have been elected had the same criteria been imposed as strike ballots

Half the members of the new Tory Cabinet were elected on less than 40% of the electorate – failing the government’s own trade union legitimacy test.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid, himself elected by 38.3% of the electorate, yesterday announced new rules concerning strike ballots.

The proposal is that a ballot result would only be valid if: (1) at least 50% of members vote in them and (2) at least 40% of all members vote to support the action.

Therefore, the bare minimum will be 80% yes with a 50% turnout. meaning trade union strike ballots would no longer be declared by a simple majority, but would only become valid if 40% of members voted in them.

But…

View original post 735 more words

Zero-Hours Contracts Just The Tip Of The Iceberg For Low-Paid Jobs, Says TUC

Controversial zero-hours contracts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to low-paid and insecure jobs, according to a new report published today.

An analysis by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) shows that in addition to the 700,000 people on zero-hours contracts, a further 820,000 workers are underemployed – working between 0 and 19 hours a week.

The TUC says that whilst zero-hours contracts have featured heavily in the news, underemployment is blighting the lives of “hundreds of thousands of workers” struggling to make ends meet.

Workers on ‘short-hours contracts’ are typically paid a much lower hourly wage than other workers, the TUC says. The hourly rate for a short-hours worker is just £8.40, compared to an overall average for all employees of £13.20 an hour.

According to the TUC, short-hours contracts “give too much power to the employer” and allows them to escape having to pay National Insurance for their employees.

Like zero-hours contracts, workers on short-hours contracts can be offered as little as one hour paid work each week and have to compete with colleagues for extra hours.

Workers in the retail sector are the hardest hit by low-paid contracts. Nearly 250,000 people working in shops, supermarkets, warehouses and garages are trapped on short-hours – 29% of all underemployed workers. This compares to 16% in the education sector, 14% in food services and 12% of health and social care workers.

The TUC’s report shows that women account for nearly three-quarters (71.5%) of all workers trapped on short-hours contracts.

Zero-hours and short-hours contracts, along with low-paid and bogus self-employment, have reduced tax revenues and are harming the UK economy, according to the TUC.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Zero-hours contracts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to low-paid, insecure work.

“Hundreds of thousands of other workers find themselves trapped on short-hours contracts that simply do not guarantee enough hours for them to make ends meet.

“Like zero-hours contracts, short-hour contracts give too much power to the employer. Bosses have an incentive to offer low wages and fewer hours to get out of paying national insurance.

“Without more decent jobs, people will continue to have to survive off scraps of work and UK productivity will continue to tank.”

The report also draws attention to a sharp increase in self-employment, which accounts for 31% of the net rise in employment since 2010. Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that average earning for self-employed people have fallen dramatically by 22% since 2008/09.

New figures published by Eurostat place the UK at 23rd out of 28 for its record on underemployment.

The figures show that UK underemployment is 31% higher than the EU average, which the TUC says is a sign of the Government’s failure to create high-quality jobs.

Frances O’Grady said:

“These figures show what a bad time British people are having at work compared with their European neighbours.

“We have a fragile recovery built on pumped-up house prices, instead of the strong foundation of good quality jobs with decent hours and wages.

“The current approach just isn’t delivering enough high quality jobs to meet demand and it’s leaving too many families struggling to get by on scraps of work.”

Source – Welfare Weekly,  27 Apr 2015

http://www.welfareweekly.com/zero-hours-contracts-just-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-for-low-paid-jobs-says-tuc/

Huge Surge In Poorest Families Summoned To Court Over Unpaid Council Tax

There has been a huge surge in the number of low-income families summoned to court over unpaid council tax, new research shows.

New research published by False Economy shows an increase of more than 500,000 court summons in England, as the poorest households are hit by a £490 million cut in council tax support.

And the problem is set to get even worse, as one in seven local authorities plan further cuts in the support available to families struggling to pay council tax bills.

The TUC believes this will result in the poorest families facing even higher council tax demands and lead to a rise in the number summoned to court.

Figures show that more than 3 million people in England were taken to court by local authorities in 2013/14 over unpaid council tax. This represents a 25% rise on the previous year.

Council Tax Benefit was scrapped by the government and replaced by the Council Tax Support Scheme (CTS) in 2013/14. The change meant that councils in England were allowed to develop their own support schemes, but were also forced to accept a 10% in funding from central government for those schemes.

Only a small number of councils chose to keep full council tax support for low-income families. Vulnerable pensioners were unaffected by the changes and are still entitled to have their council tax bills fully paid.

According to figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), around 2.5 million low-income families were affected by a reduction in council tax support in the first year of the scheme.

Where councils introduced minimum council tax payments for the poorest households, court summons increased by 30%. Only 9% of local authorities continue to offer full council tax relief.

The research by False Economy also found that households who qualified for CTS, and who were subject to minimum council tax payment requirements, accounted for 58% of the rise in court summonses.

According to the research, people who are struggling to pay council tax bills are routinely being affected by deductions in benefits and targeted by bailiffs.

A False Economy spokesperson said:

“Council tax support cuts have caused chaos for families and households, and also for councils.

“They are leaving people out of pocket and in debt, which is also bad for local businesses that depend on them as customers.

“Councils are now pursuing people through the courts for money they do not have. It is a shambles made by a cabinet of millionaires in a government that has been completely out of touch with reality.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

Slashing council tax support has been one of the government’s cruellest cuts.

“It was foolish for ministers to think that families who can’t afford to heat their homes can pay new tax bills for hundreds of pounds.

“And it is heartless for them to stand by as the poorest families are hauled through the courts and harassed by bailiffs.

“If anyone is to be hit with higher taxes it should be the fat cats in the boardrooms and those corporations that are dodging paying their fair share, not the poorest working-age households in the UK.”

Source – Welfare Weekly, 08 Apr 2015

http://www.welfareweekly.com/huge-surge-in-poorest-families-summoned-to-court-over-unpaid-council-tax/

A third of Hartlepool workers are ‘trapped in poverty’

More than a third of Hartlepool workers do not earn enough to live on, according to new research.

Figures from the TUC show 34.7 per cent of people in the town are paid less than the living wage – defined as the minimum hourly rate needed for workers to provide for themselves and their family.

And Hartlepool is the worst place in the region for the number of women earning less than the living wage, with 46.7 per cent of female workers taking home less than the minimum £7.85 an hour.

TUC analysis shows nationally one in five jobs nationwide pays under the living wage – leaving more than five million people on less than subsistence pay.

In the North East, the Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency tops the list of living wage blackspots, followed by Hartlepool, Berwick, Newcastle North and North West Durham.

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said:

“In-work poverty is getting worse and it is proof the economy might well work for millionaires at the top, but does nothing to help people on low pay.”

Mr Wright raised the issue of pay inequality in a Commons debate last week in his role as Shadow Minister for Industry, and referred to Hartlepool.

“Almost a quarter of North East workers and nearly half of all part-time staff are not being paid a living wage,” he told MPs.

“It is striking that the people most likely to be in poverty in Britain in the 21st Century are those in work. No-one can honestly suggest that the economy is working well or as productively as it could be when that is the case.

“This country will not achieve our vision of a highly-skilled, well-paid and innovative work force, ensuring that the benefits of economic growth are enjoyed by all in work, if we continue down the present path.

“The taxpayer is having to subsidise, through tax credits and other parts of the welfare state, the failure of many firms to pay a decent wage.”

Hartlepool Citizens’ Advice Bureau manager Joe Michna said the centre was dealing with the consequences of low wages.

“These figures come as no surprise,” he said.

“Certainly a large number of our clients, particularly those struggling with their daily needs, would be below what is defined as the living wage.

“We get a lot of people who are on the minimum wage and others who are just above it.”

Northern TUC Regional Secretary Beth Farhat said:

“These figures show that huge numbers of working people in the North East are struggling to bring home a wage they can live off.

“Extending the living wage is a vital step towards tackling the growing problem of in-work poverty in parts of the North East – and Britain as a whole.

“Working families have experienced the biggest squeeze on their living standards since Victorian times, and these living wage figures show that women are disproportionately affected.

“Pay has been squeezed at all levels below the boardroom, and the government’s mantra about ‘making work pay’ is completely out of touch with reality.

“The number of living wage employers is growing rapidly and unions are playing their part in encouraging more employers to sign up and pay it.

“But we need to see a far wider commitment to pay the living wage from government, employers and modern wages councils – to drive up productivity and set higher minimum rates in industries where employers can afford to pay their staff more.”

Source – Hartlepool Mail, 23 Feb 2015

Tory proposal for union ballot reform could be a vote loser in the North East

With a general election looming ever larger on the political horizon, the main parties are now unveiling the policies they think will secure them victory.

The economy, immigration and benefits are among the battlegrounds which they will be fighting over in the next four months.

Another is the heavily unionised public sector which has undergone swingeing cuts since the Coalition Government came to office in May 2010 and historically has been the favoured whipping boy of the Tory party.

And so when David Cameron’s party revealed plans to make it harder to call strikes in certain “core” public services if it wins the general election, it came as no surprise.

A policy along those lines, after all, was floated last year by Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster general Francis Maude.

There was also no surprise in its backing by the employers organisations the CBI and the British Chamber of Commerce, or in its universal condemnation by members of the TUC.

Yet, while certain sections of the media need no invitation to attack the public sector, and its day of action last year caused discomfort and annoyance amongst the public – not least the sight of rubbish piling high in places like Newcastle – it is still a risky strategy.

For a start, it opens the Government up to accusations of hypocrisy and double standards.

After all, the present Coalition Government is made up of the Lib Dems and Tories who between them received 38% of the total number of the UK’s eligible voters – 18m out of 45.5m – and below the 40% threshold it wants to demand of the public sector it is targeting. The Tory share of this was 23%.

In her heyday , Margaret Thatcher won around 30% of the total available vote and, during the present parliament, the Tories voted down a Lib Dem motion to introduced an alternative voting scheme which arguably would have made parliament more representative of the people’s views.

Meanwhile, GMB general secretary Paul Kenny also got his calculator out to further hammer home the point. He said:

“Only 16 out of 650 elected Members of Parliament secured the support of 40% of those entitled to vote in their parliamentary constituency area election in 2010.

“Only 15 Tory MPs out of 303 secured that level of support. They had no hesitation in forming a government in 2010 without securing 40% support from the electorate.”

Another point is that, particularly in the North East, the public sector which employs many in the region, is not as hated as the Tories might think. So such a policy strategy could be a vote loser here.

Gill Hale, regional secretary of Unison in the North East, said:

“They are the anti-public sector party – you only have to see what they are doing to the NHS and what they have already done to local government.

“Industrial action is taken as a last resort, and when we’ve had to take it we’ve had very good public support. I don’t think it will be a vote winner.”

 

Meanwhile comments by Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable, in which he denounced the plans as “brutal” and “ill-conceived”, echo those of Ms Hale.

He said the Conservative proposals were “entirely ideologically-led and a brutal attempt to strangle the basic rights of working people in this country”.

Mr Cable added that a 40% threshold would be “odd”, when MPs do not have to overcome such a high hurdle to be elected.

Under the plans, a strike affecting health, transport, fire services or schools would need the backing of 40% of eligible union members.

Currently, a strike is valid if backed by a simple majority of those balloted.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC says the Conservatives’ proposals would have “profound implications” for civil liberties.

They would also end a ban on using agency staff to cover for striking workers, impose a three-month time limit after a ballot for action to take place and curbs on picketing.

The package of measures will feature in the party’s manifesto for May’s general election.

In explaining the plan, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said a planned London bus strike set to take place on Tuesday had only been voted for by 16% of people entitled to take part in the ballot, and called the walk-out “ridiculous”.

“I think before a strike is allowed to go ahead it must havemuch more support from the union members and cannot be called by politicised union leaders,” he said.

But Ms O’Grady said that participation in strike ballots and other types of vote should be improved by introducing online voting, in “safe and secure balloting”.

At the moment, strikes can only be called based on the results of a postal ballot – which “don’t do the job”, Ms O’Grady added.

She said the government “continues to oppose this proposition”, although Mr McLoughlin replied he would be willing to talk “in more detail” about such proposals.

However, his partner in the Coalition Government, Mr Cable, goes further.

He said: “If there is to be trade union reform, it should be to allow electronic voting in ballots which would improve the turnout and legitimacy of polls.”

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said the Conservative Party’s proposed changes would have a “chilling” effect, and added the way to “resolve disputes was through negotiations – not to intimidate and silence by legislation”.

Ministers have repeatedly clashed with trade unions over pay – with a 1% cap on increases in the public sector – as well as changes to pensions and retirement ages.

It was during the day of action last summer when hundreds of thousands of public sector workers took part in a day of strike action across the UK, that Prime Minister David Cameron said it was “time to legislate”.

Public Sector Workers Day of Action March and Rally Newcastle
Public Sector Workers Day of Action March and Rally Newcastle

But Ms Hale added:

“We already have some of the most draconian laws in Europe regarding industrial action. There are so many obstacles we have to get over.”

However, Mr McLoughlin said:

“It is wrong that politicised union leaders can hold the country to ransom with demands that only a small percentage of their members voted for. That causes misery to millions of people; and it costs our economy too.”

He said the changes, which would be introduced in the first session of a Conservative-led Parliament, would “increase the legitimacy” of strike action held by unions.

It is only fair that the rights of unions are balanced with the rights of hard-working taxpayers who rely on key public services.”

CBI deputy director general Katja Hall commented:

“Strikes should always be the result of a clear, positive decision by those balloted. The introduction of a threshold is an important – but fair – step to rebalance the interests of employers, employees, the public and the rights of trade unions.”

However, the TUC has previously said imposing a minimum turnout would leave unions with “about as much power as Oliver Twist”.

Labour criticised those plans as “desperate stuff”.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said the proposed measures would make it virtually impossible for anyone in the public sector to go on strike and would shift the balance completely in favour of the government and employers, and away from dedicated public servants.

He said: “The UK already has tough laws on strikes – there is no need to make them stricter still.”

But John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “In the eyes of businesses large and small, these proposals have merit, as they would help ensure essential services and the freedom to work in the event of strike action.”

Source –  Newcastle Journal, 12 Jan 2015

250,000 Workers Cheated Out Of The Legal Minimum Wage, Says TUC

More than 250,000 workers in the UK are being cheated out of the legal national minimum wage by unscrupulous employers, a damning new report reveals.

A new report from the Trade Union Congress (TUC), National Minimum Wage – Keeping up the Pressure, reveals that while the majority of employers are ‘happy’ to pay up, others are finding new ways to escape paying the legal minimum wage.

The findings may prove to be deeply embarrassing for the Tory-led coalition government, who claim to be “making work pay” and on the side of “hardworking people”.

> I doubt they are capable of feeling embarrasment or shame…

The national minimum wage rate is currently set at £6.50 per hour for workers over the age of 21, falling to £5.13 for 18-20 year olds, £3.79 for under 18’s and £2.73 per hour for apprentices.

However, the TUC says a minority of employers are adopting a ‘wide range of scams’ to avoid paying up: including under-recording hours, bogus self-employment, misusing interns and volunteers, charging for uniforms, not paying for travel between work sites during the working day, clocking workers off when there are no customers in the store or cafe, and employers vanishing to avoid minimum wage fines only to reappear under another name.

Apprentices are particularly likely to be underpaid, with figures suggesting as many as 120,000 people on apprenticeships are paid less than the legal requirement.

TUC says enforcement of the national minimum wage needs to ‘continuously improved’ and stronger punishments for employers who flout the law need to introduced, such as increasing the maximum fine from £5,000 to £75,000.

The report also calls for the appointment of 100 more HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) enforcement officers, the naming and shaming of employers who fail to pay at least the national minimum wage and better guidance for businesses.

The TUC has outlined a 10-point programme the next government should adopt to improve minimum wage enforcement:

  1. Restore the budget for raising awareness about the minimum wage to £1 million.
  2. Hire 100 more HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) enforcement officers
  3. Better official guidance on the minimum wage so that employers know their responsibilities.
  4. Create legal gateways so that HMRC can share information about enforcement with local authorities and the transport regulatory authorities
  5. Name and shame all non-payers.
  6. Government to guarantee arrears if employer goes bankrupt or simply vanishes.
  7. Adopt a prosecution strategy targeted towards the worst offenders and increase maximum fine from £5,000 to £75,000.
  8. More targeted enforcement for high-risk sectors.
  9. Make government funding for training apprentices dependent on employers paying the minimum wage, and create a duty for training providers to check that the minimum wage is paid.
  10. Promote collective bargaining so that trade unions can deal with more minimum wage problems themselves.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Failing to pay the minimum wage is an antisocial act that squeezes those workers who have the least. There should be no hiding place for cheapskate bosses who try to cheat their workers out of the minimum wage.

“We must engage in a constant battle to ensure that every worker gets at least the minimum. It is clear that some employers are actively looking for new ways not to pay even the legal minimum.

“There should be a broad consensus between political parties, good employers and trade unions that the minimum wage must always be enforced effectively.

“We urge everyone to support the TUC’s plan for ensuring continuous improvement to the minimum wage system.”

Source – Welfare Weekly, 08 Jan 2015

http://www.welfareweekly.com/250000-workers-cheated-legal-minimum-wage-says-tuc/

Austerity Cuts Will Bite Even Harder In 2015 – Another £12bn Will Go

This article  was written by Amelia Gentleman, for The Guardian on Thursday 1st January 2015

George Osborne says the coverage of looming new spending cuts has been “hyperbolic”, but away from Downing Street there is a strong consensus that the cumulative effect of five years of austerity will make the next wave of cuts, in 2015, very painful.

Four more years of austerity is “a price that works for our country”, Osborne said as he outlined his strategy. The Institute for Fiscal Studies responded by warning that “colossal” cuts to the state would take total government spending to its lowest level as a proportion of national income since before the second world war. By the end of the process, “the role and shape of the state will have changed beyond recognition”, the think tank said. So far, £35bn has been cut; the plan is to cut a further £55bn by 2019.

 > But that’s the plan, isn’t it ? To change the role and shape of the state beyond recognition ? A state where old Etonians rule by right and the poor get trampled into the ground ?

If the chancellor remains in post after the general election, Britain will find itself halfway through a nine-year stretch of spending cuts, with the Conservatives determined to shrink and redefine the role of the state. The Liberal Democrats say the Conservative policy is aimed at creating “a smaller state, with many more cuts to come”, giving Britain “austerity for ever”; 2015 will be a pivotal year in the race to reshape the nature of the state.

> Would that be the same Liberal Democrats who are part of the  coalition that is making these changes to society ? Sorry, Lib Dems, don’t start wringing your hands now – you won’t get rid of the blood on them that way.

Even if they lose, difficult spending cuts look inevitable. Labour is also committed to ending the deficit, in 2017-18, provided the state of the economy allows it.

Protesters demonstrate against the bedroom tax.
Protesters demonstrate against the bedroom tax. Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images

For many publicly funded services and organisations, 2015 will be the year when their chances of survival become clear. There is an enormous range in the size and the function of services under threat, which makes tracking the scale of the cuts challenging.

Here are just four examples – from the large scale to the tiny, of services that are set to go this year.

In June, the Independent Living Fund, which provides funding for around 18,000 disabled people to work and live in the community, will be wound down. In Liverpool, there will be a decision in early 2015 over whether the council will close a possible 23 out of the city’s 26 Sure Start centres. On a smaller scale, organisations including the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants, in north London, which supports around 150 refugees and asylum seekers, providing English classes, faces closure because of cuts to education budgets.

These are people who come to us on a daily basis who desperately need some kind of support,” project manager Andy Ruiz Palma says. “I would lose my job, but I am more worried about the clients. There is nowhere else for them to go.”

In Ealing, west London, parents are campaigning to save the lollipop crossing role, done for the past 20 years by Eileen Rowles, and now at risk of being discontinued because of council spending cuts.

The Office for Budget Responsibility said in December that the chancellor’s plans would mean one million further government job losses by 2020 (a total fall from early 2011 of 1.3 million), representing a 20% fall in headcount.

Over the past five years, there has been surprise and relief from politicians that public anger about spending cuts has been relatively muted. Aside from a few annual anti-cuts marches in big cities, Britain has not experienced the waves of protest seen in countries such as Spain. Given that those most affected by the cuts are the most vulnerable and disempowered people in society, it’s perhaps not surprising that the response has been muted.

But that could change in 2015. The next stage of cutbacks is likely to be harder to ignore. The easy decisions have already been made; once the low-hanging fruit has been removed, finding new things to cut gets harder, which means the second half of the austerity era is likely to be much tougher than the first.

By next May, government funding for councils will be 40% lower than it was in 2010; and a further 13% will need to be cut in 2015.

It is individuals who have paid the price of funding reductions, whether it is through seeing their local library close, roads deteriorate or support for young people or families scaled back. Further reductions without radical reform will have a detrimental impact on people’s quality of life,” the Local Government Association chair, Tony Sparks, says.

The 2011 campaign to save Kensal Rise library from closure.
The 2011 campaign to save a London library from closure. Photograph: Sean Smith/The Guardian

The National Audit Office has warned that more than half of councils currently risk falling into serious financial crisis before the end of the decade. Some may struggle to provide services that they are legally obliged to offer, and this may become apparent in 2015 with more legal action by service users.

Nicola Smith, head of economic affairs at the TUC, says:

“The scale of the spending cuts that the chancellor set out in his autumn statement briefing is truly severe. The public sector has already experienced five years of austerity. The consequences for key services that people rely on are severe.”

Osborne has said that if the Conservatives win the election he will want to cut a further £12bn a year from the welfare bill – on top of the £20m-£25m that has already been cut. He proposes freezing working-age benefits for two years, reducing the overall benefit cap from £26,000 to £23,000, and limiting access to housing benefit for people under 21.

Professor John Hills, director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics, says that the impact of further cuts in this area would be very painful.

“Both the political and public belief is that spending on out-of-work benefits is a large share of overall public spending; it is not. Trying to make large savings from what is really a small share of public spending will require increasingly harsh cuts. We have seen this already through things like the bedroom tax, the imposition of council tax on people with very low incomes, and the greatly increased use of sanctioning. To continue to get more savings from that group will require harsher measures.”

Source – Welfare Weekly, 01 Jan 2015

http://www.welfareweekly.com/austerity-cuts-will-bite-even-harder-2015-another-12bn-will-go/

More Jobs Than People Looking For Work, Claim Researchers

The number of jobseekers per advertised job vacancy has reached a record post-recession low of 0.89, researchers claim.

According to the latest UK Job Market report from Adzuna – a search engine for job advertisements – the number of advertised job vacancies reached 949,778 in November 2014, the largest number of jobs since the recession and up 23.6% on November 2013.

Adzuna say there has been ten consecutive months in which competition for jobs has fallen and there are now more advertised vacancies than jobseekers.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said:

“The job market has seen significant revival over the past year. The most recent figures provide a solid base for optimism as we head into 2015.”

 “But it’s important not to rest on our laurels. The fact that the number of advertised job vacancies has continued to blossom over and above the number of jobseekers in November is definitely a sign that the labour market has cultivated momentum over the course of 2014″.

However, Mr Hunter urged caution, saying temporary jobs for the Christmas period may be partly responsible for a 1.4% increase in advertised vacancies between October to November 2014:

This peak in advertised vacancies at the close of the year may owe as much to seasonal work as it does to the resurgent core of the jobs market”, he said.

He added: “Some uptick in advertised vacancies during the lead-up to the festive period was expected.”

Mr Hunter said the “cost of living crisis” was starting to ease, “leaving more people with more money in the New Year – injecting a feel-good factor into a traditionally glum time of year.”

This claim will be impossible to accept for the several thousands of jobseekers still struggling to find work and who may have been made redundant during the biggest recession in decades.

And the supposed economic recovery is yet to be felt by families struggling to pay bills, or forced to turn to food banks to feed themselves and their children.

There are also wide variations in the number of available jobs in different towns and cities across the UK. For example, there were 23.54 jobseeker’s for every job vacancy in Salford and 18.54 in the Wirral. This compares to just 0.17 in Cambridge and 0.20 in Guildford.

Research published by the TUC earlier this month (December) reveals that just one in every forty new jobs added to the economy between 2008 and 2014 has been a full-time employee job.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“While more people are in work there are still far too few full-time employee jobs for everyone who wants one.

“It means many working families are on substantially lower incomes as they can only find reduced hours jobs or low-paid self-employment.”

She added:

“The Chancellor has said he wants full employment, but that should mean full-time jobs for everyone who wants them. At the moment the economy is still not creating enough full-time employee jobs to meet demand.”

Analysis also shows a significant rise in the number of people trapped on controversial low-paid and insecure Zero Hours contracts. TUC says most workers on zero-hours contracts earn less than the living wage.

According to Adzuna, average advertised salaries grew to £34,549 in November 2014 – a 5.8% increase compared to £32,651 a year ago.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) – one measure used to calculate the cost of living – grew by just 1% in the year to November 2014. According to the research, this means that average annual salary increases continue to outpace CPI inflation and shows real wage growth.

Consumer service jobs saw the largest annual increase in average advertised salaries of 16.5% over the year to November to reach £21,353, say Adzuna.

Andrew Hunter said:

“The customer services sector has evolved in response to the changing landscape of business engagement.

Adding: “This increase in their average salary reflects companies’ desire to attract the best talent for this crucial sector.”

Average advertised salaries for jobs in Hospitality & Catering took the largest annual plunge to £24,148, which represents a decrease of 2.11% since November last year.

Andrew Hunter said:

“A decrease in average advertised salaries at the close of the year for Hospitality & Catering might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s actually a regular seasonal occurrence.

“Many businesses take on extra seasonal staff for low-wage work in order to cope with the extra footfall during this time of year.”

Manufacturing jobs experienced a yearly salary increase to £30,678 in November, representing a 14.5% yearly increase. This increase was followed closely by a 10.4% annual salary boost in Trade & Construction, with an average advertised salary of £38,704.

Mr Hunter said companies in these sectors “are not simply offering higher salaries because they’re feeling flush with cash”, but because “they’re struggling to attract the talent they need to expand”.

They need to fill the existing skills gap before we can expect other sectors to feel the benefits”, said Mr Hunter.

Scotland is the only region of the UK to experience a year-on-year salary decrease. With average advertised salaries growing by just 0.53% over 2014 it leaves Scotland trailing behind the rest of the UK. According to the research, this was caused by the ‘instability resulting from the referendum’.

At the same time, North East England (11.60%), Yorkshire and The Humber (10.76%) and North West England (8.78%) have jostled Wales (8.44%) out of the pole position it had been enjoying thanks to the Jobs Growth Wales initiative.

Average Northern salaries remain lower than in the South, but at the current rates of change this may not remain the case for long – expect the North to surge forward in 2015, say Adzuna.

Andrew Hunter said:

“A manufacturing boom has buoyed the Northern jobs market this year. The traditional home of manufacturing in the UK is seeing a new demand for highly-skilled labour, which is reflected in healthy annual wage growth.

> Really ? All I see in my local job searches are cleaning jobs at 16 hours/week or less, or zero hours hospitality-type jobs. Jobs at 30+ hours a week seem to be very rare.

“There is a more complicated picture for Scotland, another region where average salaries are tightly tied to a dominant job sector – waning salaries in Energy, Oil and Gas have been compounded across the region by recent political instability.

“However, advertised salaries still managed to grow on average in 2014. The margin of growth was undeniably lower than the increases enjoyed by the rest of the UK.

“Nevertheless, average growth despite the unique setbacks faced by the Scottish jobs market speaks volumes of the market’s resilience – there is every reason to hope Scottish salaries and employment will bounce back into the coming year.”

Source – Welfare Weekly, 31 Dec 2014

http://www.welfareweekly.com/jobs-people-looking-work-claim-researchers/

It will take a DECADE for wages to recover in real terms

Order Of Truth

wagesrecoveryDespite official figures from the Office for National Statistics indicating that wages are rising faster than inflation, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has warned that it will take at least until 2024 for wages to recover their value.

Frances O’Grady, the TUC’s general secretary, said: “What is clear is that it will take a decade for wages to catch up in real terms to where they were before the crash. There are a lot of people who are now dipping into their savings – or, worse, getting into debt, to try to maintain a standard of living.”

TUC research says the real value of the average full-time employee wage fell by £487 in 2014 and has fallen by £2,509 since 2010 – a decline of about £50 a week.

“And current policies offer little relief. The Office for Budgetary Responsibility forecast, released with the Autumn Statement, shows growth weakening…

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