Union demands action on austerity-induced shortage of workers and goods

Boris Johnson and David Cameron
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The GMB union is demanding action over the shortage of workers. It’s also blaming the crisis on “years of cost-cutting and austerity by employers and government”.

The austerity generation

GMB general secretary Gary Smith said:

The growing labour market crisis is a result of years of cost-cutting and austerity by employers and government, there is no getting away from this.

But you cannot cut your way out of a crisis, you need to invest and if the country is to avoid prolonged and crippling shortages across industries and supply chains, then employers must start paying people properly for their labour.

It’s time to end the UK’s race-to-the-bottom on pay and conditions – that’s why GMB will be organising and campaigning for significant pay increases across our membership in our drive to make work better.

Labour on labour

Labour is urging the government to appoint a minister with responsibility for tackling the shortage of workers and supplies of goods. It comes in a bid to tackle the current “chaos and disruption” hitting firms. The opposition warned that the UK’s economic recovery was at risk. Business groups continue to report problems hiring skilled staff and obtaining goods and raw materials.

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Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said:

The Government must get a grip on the supply chain crisis facing our economy. While they act as if the problem will solve itself, businesses are telling Government these problems are only going to grow.

Ministers have a habit of ignoring warnings and shifting the burden of blame to businesses, but it is their undermining of our country’s skills training system, failure to deliver on their promise to cut barriers facing businesses and belief in an insecure labour market with poor terms and conditions that has created this crisis.

The long-term problems in the HGV sector will not be solved by making drivers work longer hours but by training workers and improving their terms and conditions. What we are seeing across our economy should be a wake-up call to Government that insecurity and low pay cannot build the high performing economy we need.

It’s time for the Prime Minister to take this situation seriously and appoint a minister to work across Government and come up with a clear plan with businesses and unions to improve wages and conditions in key sectors.

Strike action against Labour

Meanwhile, two different unions are currently considering strike action against Labour. This is as a result of a party ‘restructure’ that could see jobs being axed. GMB organiser Vaughan West said:

Labour Party workers have shown the strength of their anger at this ballot result.

We hope party bosses will now sit up, take notice and talk with unions so we can avoid compulsory redundancies.

Featured image via Wikimedia – World Economic Forum

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