Campaign for Real Jobs

16 Oct

The latest government figures indicate that unemployment is now under 6%, at just under 2 million. The trouble with these figures is that the rules by which the figures are calculated have changed significantly, many times, over the course of the parliament. Trying to work out the true comparison from four and a half years ago to today is almost impossible. It is like trying to compare apples to bananas.

One significant change was that that of a definition of a job. Almost any form of occupation, even that which is hardly paid at all, or is wholly unpaid, is counted as a job. Many “jobs” are part time, short-term contracts or zero hours contracts. Worst of all are exclusive zero hours contracts, where  the employee is paid by the hour but not guaranteed any work or wage, while still not being allowed to seek other employment.

Meanwhile the cost of living has risen while wages have stagnated.  At the same time, Britain is the only country in the G7 group where the gap between rich and poor has significantly grown during the 21st century. The Prime Minister’s solution to our economic ills is to reduce spending on welfare while reducing taxation for the richest.

I might believe the existence of real jobs if they had some link to a living wage. This is currently estimated at £14,400 p.a. for a single person. The legal minimum wage for persons 21 years and over is £6.50 per hour, a figure which has remained the same throughout this parliament.  This wage does not allow for having dependents.

What I suggest is that a job should be based on this rather inadequate figure, and that a part time job of 50% of a full time wage should be regarded as half a job. For all part time jobs the percentage of a full time job should be used on the statistics. As for zero hour contracts, they should also be regarded as half a job, unless proved to be otherwise.  I do not possess the figures, the computer models or the analytical skills to produce my own statistics, but surely someone does.

Until these figures can be produced the statistics provided by the government are wholly worthless and unbelievable. There are lies, damned lies, statistics and government statistics. It is time to start a campaign for Real Jobs.

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