23 October 2010
Figures obtained by the union for the day following the work and pensions secretary’s statement about unemployed workers ‘getting on the bus’, show there are 15,000 people in Cardiff chasing just 1,700 jobs.
On Friday 22 October there were 1,670 unemployed people in Merthyr, south Wales, and 39 job vacancies, all temporary and part-time. The number of people out of work in Merthyr and Blaenau Gwent combined was more than the total number of job vacancies for the whole of Wales.
Of the Cardiff vacancies, the vast majority were temporary and part-time. Of the temporary jobs, most were unskilled labouring for just one or three weeks’ duration.
The most popular vacancy on the day the union carried out its research was a Christmas job in a well known store working four-hour shifts on Saturdays and Sundays for the national minimum wage.
Among the permanent jobs was work in a casino or bars. Neither offered help with journeys home afterwards and the last bus out of Cardiff leaves at 11.06pm. Workers from outside the city might be able to get the bus to work, but they would not be able to get home.
Nationally, there are 2.5 million people out of work and fewer than 500,000 job vacancies. As part of this week’s spending review, the government admitted 490,000 public sector workers could lose their jobs and economists predict this could lead to another half a million private sector job cuts.
These figures prove it is not a question of people not being willing to work, there simply are not enough jobs for them to do – and there are unlikely to be any time soon because of the government’s plans to cut public spending, including cutting 15,000 more jobs in the Department for Work and Pensions.
Far from being about ‘fairness’, the union says Duncan Smith’s comments were part of an orchestrated campaign by coalition government ministers to recast some of the most vulnerable members of our society as the new ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor to help clear the ground for the biggest assault on the welfare state in living memory.
Also, the fact is that when people sign on, they already sign a jobseekers agreement that says they are prepared to travel up to an hour by bus to find work. After six months this goes up to an hour and a half.
If their travel is within an hour, the cost is not refunded so the jobseeker is required to find the money themselves out of their jobseekers allowance.
Instead of vilifying the unemployed PCS says the government should be creating jobs and opportunities to help people get back to work and to help our economy to grow. It should also put proper resources into jobcentres to help jobseekers find suitable employment.