UNISON reaction to unemployment figures

“The small drop in unemployment today, masks the reality of rising under-employment across the country” warned Dave Prentis, general secretary of UNISON today.

“Any fall in unemployment provides a welcome relief to those struggling to find a job. However, the rise in part-time work, zero hours contracts and minimum wage jobs is no cause for celebration. There are still 2.49m people desperate to find work and many of them are young people who have still not been able to get that all important first job.

“The government needs to get a grip on the lack of opportunities for our young people.  Yesterday we heard about the disastrous state of careers advice in schools. Shutting down the Connexions service was a big mistake. Pupils need to get comprehensive careers advice to enable them to make the right choices and tackling that lack of support must be a priority.

“For those in work, the news that average earnings have only risen by 1.1%, underlines the growing gap between inflation and wages. Many more families are struggling to pay every day bills with the cost of fruit and vegetables rising by 14%, astronomical fuel bills and the cost of travel and housing soaring.”