National punishes the victims of the jobs crisis: Socialist solutions desperately needed

lazy bludgers meme

This article by Jared Phillips, Fightback member, was originally published by the Socialist Party of Australia.

Workers in Aotearoa/NZ are applying in large numbers for scarce jobs, large-scale redundancies are becoming more frequent, record numbers of people are leaving the country, and the government is putting tougher tests on welfare recipients.

In a nutshell there are not enough jobs to go around and the National Party led government is placing the burden on ordinary people who were in no way responsible for this crisis.

At the end of the third quarter of 2012 the rate of unemployment was at 7.3% which is the highest rate recorded in Aotearoa/NZ since 1991. The number of officially unemployed had risen by 13,000 on the previous quarter. Youth unemployment was disproportionately high at 17.1%.

Last month 1600 people applied for 80 positions at a new supermarket in Blenheim, a town in the South Island. This is not uncommon. In Christchurch 1000 people applied for 170 new supermarket jobs last September. Also last year, a supermarket was still under construction in the city of Palmerston North when 600 people gave in applications at other locations of the supermarket chain. A manager reported that job applications were going in “before we even turned the dirt at the new store”. This illustrates that workers in Aotearoa/NZ are job-starved and desperate for work. [Read more…]

Meme: Lazy bludgers?

lazy bludgers meme

Unemployment: A global issue for workers and youth that this system can’t resolve

from each according to ability winz

Jared Phillips

The world economic crisis has driven rising unemployment and the effects are being felt in New Zealand and globally. At the same time as New Zealand’s unemployment rate grows the National government has completely declined to respond to major job losses, including within heavy industry. The government’s only response on the question of unemployment has been increasing barriers to accessing benefits and vilifying unemployed people.

As the rate of unemployment grows the government’s ‘strategy’ will increasingly be shown to be nonsense and it will become more apparent to many people that only socialist solutions can resolve the unemployment problem.

The number of officially unemployed in New Zealand rose by 13,000 within the third quarter of 2012, taking the rate of unemployment to 7.3%. That is the highest rate of unemployment experienced in New Zealand since three decades ago. This increased unemployment is a result of an economic slowdown which is slowing the number of new jobs being created as well as producing redundancies.

According to the ILO the global rate of unemployment stabilised for a two year period in 2011 and 2012 but is set to increase again. In 2012 the total number of unemployed rose by 4.2 million and that number is expected to increase in 2012.

Youth unemployment rates for those aged under 25 have reached historic highs in the advanced capitalist countries of Europe in 2012. Overall, the youth unemployment rate for EU countries at September 2012 was 22.8% and was up by more than 1% on the previous year. [Read more…]

Spark interview: Sue Bradford on the unemployed workers’ movement

Over the weekend Auckland Action Against Poverty held a workshop to devise their next campaign. During the break Spark writer Ian Anderson sat down with Sue Bradford to discuss the history and future of the unemployed workers’ movement.

Spark: How will National’s recently announced welfare reforms affect beneficiaries?
SB: For youths of 16-17 years old it will mean the state, or private service providers, managing their income. My fear with this is that it will be extended to more beneficiaries, as the Welfare Working Group recommended.

For solo mothers it will mean work testing and harassment. In July they’ll be announcing reforms targeting people on the Sickness Benefit.

Spark: Why must all workers oppose these attacks?
SB: The worse it is for beneficiaries and the unemployed, the more competition for low paid jobs, the easier it is to drive down wages and conditions.

The capitalist system needs unemployment. Lately people have been very open about this, saying a certain amount of unemployment is good for economic growth. [Read more…]