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Back to work? How the system fails the unemployed
Female unemployment has been rising fast and a lack of affordable childcare rules out many low paid jobs. Photo Paul Mattsson
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show a slight fall in unemployment. But behind that headline are trends that indicate the impact of the Con-Dems' cuts. The TUC has pointed out that "the number of under-employed people, who are taking part-time and temporary jobs for a lack of permanent full-time work, has hit two million for the first time ever."
Workers are being hit with a double whammy of a falling number of full-time jobs and a 6% fall in real wages over the last two years. Women workers and single parents are hit with a treble whammy as public sector cuts have contributed to a situation where female unemployment has been rising fast and a lack of affordable childcare rules out many low-paid jobs. Natalie from Coventry writes about her experience of life behind the headlines.
Have you been looking for work? Hard isn't it? Time consuming and tiring; constantly trying to show all those employers you are the one for that too low paid, awful hours "perfect job". That is, where you will give your all just so you are able to get that job you desperately need!
I've recently encountered the world of returning to work after being on income support and child benefit for five years and have just discovered, as a single mum, how hard it really is and how sometimes it doesn't seem worth all the stress.
After months of applying for jobs, filling in application forms, writing cover letters and sending CVs I have finally got a job!
Well done I hear you say, all that effort has paid off - or has it?
I finally got a job I wanted for four months - Home Help - to look after and care for the elderly in the way they need and deserve.
But it is a 'zero hours' contract meaning the working hours are not fixed from one week to another. But as it's what I have wanted to do for so long - to give something back to the community - I accepted the job straight away, unknown to me the stresses that lay ahead.
I have a five year old son who has time off for school holidays. As I will be working 0-16 or more hours, the Jobcentre has told me I won't get any financial help with childcare whatsoever.
Consequently I have a job but can't take it as the system won't help me. I am upset, angry and confused. I thought the government wants to help people get off benefits and back into work, but this isn't the case if you don't fit the criteria.
How is this fair or even right? I have been told "to do what is best for me", which would be to get a job, feel helped, and not feel pressured into turning a job down; because this doesn't make any sense.
I've been advised to apply for a different job with hours that are for definite, but who's to say with all the other applicants I will stand a chance, let alone get an interview and then the job?
For this job, as a receptionist, I would need a childminder. But I don't understand why they will help me with the 16+ hours job and not help with the job where I would be doing less hours?
If I don't get the receptionist job I will be forced to return to benefits and be unemployed once again, competing with thousands of other people for the small number of jobs with those hours we all need to be able to get by on.
The system is totally backward and contradicts itself in so many ways. The government needs to stop punishing the poor and hard working. We need to be made to feel secure and praised for trying to better ourselves through the tough times.
Going back to work isn't easy; it is very hard and stressful, especially for single parents, and things need to change.
We need better working hours, and better pay is a must. Employers should be forced to pay a decent wage so we can afford the prices that keep rising, and they should take care of its employees.
Show us respect and care and the world would be a much happier place!
The Con-Dems point the finger of blame at those who can't find work but the figures speak for themselves. Around two thirds of local authorities have more than five claimants chasing every vacancy - going up to over 50! Meanwhile big businesses sit on huge cash piles refusing to invest in production. Socialists demand an immediate 50% levy on the £750 billion held by the major corporations in their bank vaults. This would provide enough money to invest in developing socially-useful industry, but also to massively expand much-needed public services. Investing in decent affordable childcare would both create jobs and help parents to work.
In The Socialist 23 May 2012:
Fighting the cuts
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news