Analysis from the Northern Trades Union Congress (TUC) 10 Point Plan for A Northern Future that Works manifesto ( launched 13 and 14 April at Regional Conference) highlights, amongst other things, the stark reality of employment in the north east and Cumbria.
Despite claims of job creation and figures illustrating that employment has increased, under the Coalition government every Local Authority area in the region now has a minimum of 10 per cent more jobseekers than before. County Durham and Darlington both have increases above 30 per cent and Northumberland has been worst affected with a rise of 37 per cent since June 2010.
Almost 50,000 public sector jobs have been lost so far and the employment rate stands at 64 per cent.There are, on average 7.5 jobseekers per job vacancy in the north east and four times as many jobseekers as vacancies in Cumbria, with as many as 8:1 in North Tyneside and 11:1 in Hartlepool. Not only are more people out of work, youth unemployment, especially long-term unemployment is also up and continuing to rise.
But as well as highlighting the serious challenges that face the region, the Northern TUC document also offers practical solutions and proactive ways that trade unions can help to address these issues in a meaningful way. This will be picked up at Conference via various motions and integrated into the Work Programme for the next two years, including campaigning for the following:
- Increased investment is crucial for both short-term economic recovery and long-term prosperity. Investment in new energy infrastructure, public transport (including local projects such as light rail schemes).
- The Government should be doing more to support green infrastructure (eg, electric cars)
- The Government, Local Enterprise partnerships and all bodies charged with preparing economic and industrial strategies should ensure that quality employment lies at the heart of all plans for growth.
- Working with a greater number of employers to ensure that training and skills development lies at the heart of economic recovery and growth in the northern region.
Kevin Rowan, Northern TUC Regional Secretary said: "These figures show the ongoing failure of this Government's economic policy and the challenge for this region and all of us who want to see the north east and Cumbria grow and prosper. There is much work to be done and trade unions are up for the challenge, already playing a major role in securing the Hitachi development in Newton Aycliffe and working day in and day out in both workplaces and communities. Growing high quality jobs and sustainable work is top of our agenda, let's just hope the Coalition follows suit."