Unite general secretary Len McCluskey today (April 28) called for “a coherent blueprint” for economic recovery to be drawn up for when the Covid-19 crisis ends and business resumes.
His comments come after a hard-hitting report from The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) which has said that up to one in three jobs in parts of Britain are potentially at risk of being lost from the virus crisis.
Its analysis revealed that it is in areas with a high proportion of jobs in hospitality, retail and tourism that are most affected.
Topping the list of affected areas is Richmondshire in North Yorkshire – which includes Richmond, the constituency of Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Its large tourism and hospitality sectors mean over one in three (35 per cent) of jobs are under threat.
Areas in the North and Midlands, South West and parts of Scotland and Wales also feature on the list.
Those with the highest proportion of jobs in the knowledge economy, which can more easily be done from home, are said to be least at risk – concentrated in London, ‘Oxbridge’ and the Home Counties. Yet even here the report says one in five jobs is at ‘high risk’.
Commenting on the RSA report Unite general secretary said, “It is clear that we need a national collective effort involving government, business and the trade unions to forge a coherent blueprint for economic resuscitation and regeneration.
“Unions have to be at the table as the honest brokers, the ones fully focused on protecting jobs and keeping workers and their communities safe.”
And Unite has worked hard to keep members safe and in a job. “We fought for the job retention scheme to be implemented, and for it to be extended to June in order to stave off mass unemployment,” he said.
“And we’ve been clear with employers that they must stand behind their workers while the state is standing behind them.
Deep recession threat
“But the threat of a deep and lasting recession is still very much active. The government will have to remain open to the probability that many parts of the economy will depend on taxpayer support for some time to come.”
McCluskey believes a long-term clear vision is vital. He continued, “Government also has to look beyond the short-term to a major recalibration of the economy. We have to end the shocking levels of in-work poverty, the inhumanly poor benefits support and the widespread job insecurity in this country, laid bare by this pandemic.
“The ‘new normal’ has to redistribute wealth and power or there will be nothing ‘new’ about it,” he concluded.
By Amanda Campbell @amanda_unite