Time for our leaders to face up to the facts: Austerity is killing jobs and the recovery

It’s time our leaders faced up to the facts: austerity is killing jobs and no amount of discussion on reforming employment policy will disguise that basic fact.


Tony Burke is the Assistant General Secretary of Unite

The European Trade Union Congress – the umbrella group for EU trade unions and fedearations – has called upon politicians, EU officials, academics and employers meeting this week in Brussels to face up to the failure of austerity programmes across Europe and adopt an alternative economic strategy.

The latest EU unemployment figures are described by the ETUC as “disastrous”. Unemployment has increased virtually each month over the past year reaching record levels.

More than 25 million people are now looking for work across the EU – and worse is yet to come.

The economic outlook looks bleak as the eurozone edges closer to a double-dip recession confirming previous union warnings collective austerity and harsh deficit reduction programmes would stifle the economy and lead to mounting job losses.

While the ETUC says some of the proposals set out in the Employment Package – structural labour market reforms in the form of deregulation of employment protection; undermining and dismantling collective bargaining structures; and promoting more flexible and precarious employment – will not create sustainable new and skilled employment.

Instead they are substituting decent jobs with low skill jobs hampering the recovery. The International Labour Organisation’s latest Global Employment Outlook (pdf) also confirms bleak employment prospects for the young unemployed, with 50% youth unemployment in Greece and Spain. As an alternative ETUC has proposed a Social Compact for Europe (pdf) setting out the alternative to austerity.

As ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Segol, who will address next week’s Trades Union Congress in Brighton, said at the EU conference:

“It’s time our leaders faced up to the facts: austerity is killing jobs and no amount of discussion on reforming employment policy will disguise that basic fact.

“The European trade union movement stands ready to face up to the challenge and our responsibilities: we call on our employer social partners at European and national level to do the same. Europe’s workers demand and deserve nothing less.”

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4 Responses to “Time for our leaders to face up to the facts: Austerity is killing jobs and the recovery”

  1. Nick

    What austerity? Government spending is up. Government borrowing is up. You’re taking more of our money as taxes because you think you know better how to spend it.

    Of course its going to go to shit. The reason is you haven’t worked out why.

    It’s debt. Government debt. All of it.

    After all, public sector pensions aren’t a debt are they? Not in the debt figures. Not reported in the accounts.

    [PS The reason they aren’t reported is they have no intention of honouring them. That’s because the total off the book debts such as pensions are too big to pay. There aren’t enough Bransons to tax 100% of their wealth to pay off those debts]

  2. Newsbot9

    As usual, you’re denying simple facts which five years old can understand, that you can take away from one element when when you have more overall.

    You’re upset that you don’t get to see more people starving on the street, got it – and you’re determined to murder the elderly and poor rather than pay a reasonable amount of tax (per your share of the country’s wealth).

    Typical far right 1%er. It’s all about kill, kill, kill.

  3. Newsbot9

    Mr. Cameron has explicitly described growth as a threat in his little speech about the reshuffle.


  4. blarg1987

    You do realise that some public sector pensions are invested in the UK economy in the form of the FTSE and property, (which is a large employer). Goverment borrowing is up just as it was last time the Conservatives were in power to justufy ideological arguments e.g. outsourceing of services, this led to the profit motive which increased costs, to hide these costs the goverment borrowed as otherwise the whole idea of privatising state assts would have died out very quickly if it was discovered it was actually costing more. PFI is a continuation of this legacy (which was a conservative policy). New Labour adopted it as they believe the only way they could win was to move to the right. Overall society needs to move to the left if we are to encourage growth and economic prosperity.

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