Latest Public Sector News

06.09.12

TUC accuses Government of deliberate unemployment policy

The Government could be using unemployment to ‘keep people scared’ and to keep pay low, the TUC leader-to-be Frances O’Grady has suggested.

But the DWP called that idea “ridiculous” and “utterly laughable”.

O’Grady highlighted the possibility of government singling out women for the deepest public spending cuts. In an interview with the Guardian, she said: “You’d be forgiven for thinking that this was part of a ‘back to the kitchen sink’ campaign. When you look at what's happening, with women being hit hardest by job losses, service cuts, threats to take away employment rights, pay depression and rising bills and lack of childcare... you could be forgiven for thinking there is a plan here.”

“There was certainly a strong view in the 1980s, not just amongst trade unions, but also amongst a number of intellectuals and commentators, that unemployment was being used as a deliberate measure to keep pay down, and to keep people scared.

“As long as the No 1 worry for people, keeping them up at nights, is whether they're going to have a job in the morning, then they are less likely to resist unfair changes, or unfair treatment, or cuts in real pay at work.

“I think we do legitimately have to ask why the Government isn't taking action to create decent employment for young people, when the evidence is that if you don't do that, you really are going to pay a very high price.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson responded: “To suggest [youth unemployment] is a deliberate policy is utterly ridiculous, a ridiculous accusation that is, quite frankly, utterly laughable.

“The Government is determined to tackle youth unemployment; the Youth Contract will provide nearly half a million new opportunities for 18 to 24-year-olds and is backed by almost £1bn of funding. We support the creation of jobs be they full time or part-time.”

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