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Unemployment figures a national disgrace

Media Release: FIRST Union
Thursday November 8, 2012

Unemployment figures a national disgrace

National has presided over the biggest haemorrhaging of jobs since the 1990s, FIRST Union said today.

Unemployment has risen to 7.3 per cent, or 175,000 people, in statistics out today. The wider jobless figure also rose, to 294,900.

“The government is asleep at the wheel on jobs. Workers in manufacturing and other sectors are paying for government inaction through constant job losses,” said Robert Reid, General Secretary of FIRST Union.

“National has sat on its hands for too long. It needs to urgently take ownership of the jobs crisis. Sitting back and hoping for the best is not acceptable.”

“We need an aggressive approach to both job creation and retention, looking at structural solutions to employment to support good jobs. The Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing will highlight a range of measures that need to be brought in, in particular addressing New Zealand’s high and volatile dollar.”

Robert Reid said that alongside a huge jump in unemployment, there has been an increase in underemployment – part time workers needing more paid work.

This has risen to 113,300 people, the highest rate in three years, and was felt strongly in the retail sector where FIRST Union represents over 11,000 workers, he said.

“Every supermarket or department store that our union visits will have workers actively seeking more hours because their incomes, from working less than 40 hours a week, are not enough to live on,” Robert Reid said.

Ends.

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