News burst: 5 December 2012

Steel firm job losses round off a month of ‘carnage’ in the UK job market

The announcement earlier this month that saw 900 job losses at Tata Steel rounds off a month of ‘jobs carnage’ across the UK economy, which has seen a series of employers make announcements that have put approximately 20,000 jobs at risk.

The past month has seen:

  • 900 jobs to go at Tata Steel
  • 12,500 jobs put at risk following Vion’s announcement to sell-off its food operations.
  • 900 axed by Premier Foods, the makers of Hovis.
  • 140 jobs cut at Standard Life.
  • An announcement by the charity Turning Point to axe 2,600 people and re-employ them on lower pay.
  • A further 735 redundancies at Comet.
  • Newcastle City Council forced to cut 1,300 jobs due to central government cuts.
  • An announcement by Serco to cut 137 community health posts in Suffolk.
  • South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) confirming it will cut 16% of the overall workforce, due to budget cuts.
  • Figures released showing the loss of a further 1,000 nurses in the NHS.
  • Almost 50 people based at food manufacturer McCain’s Hull site could lose their jobs after the factory, which employs 127 people, proposed changes in shift patterns.


Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, said: “The news at Tata rounds off some dark days for the UK economy. Tens of thousands of people will be facing a Christmas of uncertainty thanks to the jobs carnage wrought by this government’s bungling handling of the economy.”

He added: “George Osborne needs to wake up to the damage his failing policies are causing. He needs to stop his assault on the poor and vulnerable and use his autumn statement to stimulate and inject confidence in to our creaking economy.”

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Britain could be losing its top young talent as thousands of graduates take jobs abroad

The number of British graduates working abroad has risen since the start of the economic crisis as thousands of graduates are tempted into taking jobs abroad, according to figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

The figures showed that in 2011 over 2,000 graduates from the Britain’s 20 leading universities found jobs abroad.

Verity O’Keefe, employment adviser for EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said: “It is worrying that the UK is increasingly losing top graduate talent to competing countries. Having invested in students during their years of study, we need to be doing our utmost to keep hold of them.

“Employers offer lucrative employment deals and pay packages to secure the best talent. If this information is not being channelled to our young people at an early stage, then we need to be looking at more innovative ways of getting this message across.”

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Underemployed workers increase by one million since economic downturn, says ONS

The number of underemployed workers, people who are in employment but want to work more hours, has risen by one million since the start of the economic downturn in 2008, to stand at 3.05 million, shows a report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

It states that one in 10 of all workers in the UK are now officially underemployed.

The ONS said 1.9 million of the underemployed were in part-time jobs and this meant, in turn, that 24% of all part-timers wanted more work.

However, only 5.5% of full-time staff said they wanted to work more hours.

Occupations with the highest number of under-employed workers included cleaners, caterers and labourers.

The highest under-employment rates were in the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, the North East and the South West, where more than 10% of workers wanted to work more hours.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the number of people struggling with less work than they want exposes the impact of the government’s failed economic recovery.

He said: “Around 2.5 million across the UK are currently out of work, but this figure only tells half the story.

“The fact that the number of under-employed people continues to grow shows just how weak our recovery is, and how fragile the labour market remains.”

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