Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The challenge of job destruction

The TUC are right to highlight how public sector job cuts will fall hardest of all in those Regions where deindustrialisation has left the Regional economy disproportionately dependent upon public employment (http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-20481-f0.cfm).

However, with the projected loss of almost 95,000 jobs in Greater London we're hardly excluded from the pain, particularly since (as the TUC have also pointed out - http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-20413-f0.cfm), private sector net job creation is currenly a drop in the ocean of public sector job losses.

The last Tory Government, just like this one, didn't see unemployment as a policy failure, but as a policy tool to be used to weaken our movement and to shift the balance of power in the workplace. An index of their success is that, after a generation in which the share of wages and salaries increased at the expense of the share of profits in the national income, that trend has been reversed in recent decades.

Now, under this Government, as we experience a sustained fall in real wages not seen since the 1920s, we also face a deliberate policy of job destruction. We can spell out the catastrophic consequences of this policy, but as union members we expect more than that our unions should share and describe our pain. Trade unions are tools for us to use to defend our collective interests.

Following the exposure of divisions in our movement at the last Public Sector Liaison Group, the question which confronts the leadership of (and activists within) the trade unions is "what is to be done?"

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