TUC calls for action over job losses in South West

PUBLISHED: 16:06 22 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:52 10 June 2010

The South West TUC has called on regional agencies to respond quickly to the looming recession to help protect jobs and skills.

The South West TUC has called on regional agencies to respond quickly to the looming recession to help protect jobs and skills. Bodies such as JobcentrePlus, the Regional Development Agency and the Learning and Skills Council need to work closely together to reduce the impact on the down-turn, says the union.

This includes:

* Helping business access credit and business support

* Lobbying for higher redundancy pay

* Apprentice protection

* Right to time-off for training for workers at risk

* Rapid response to redundancy announcements to coordinate support

· Help for unions to provide redundancy assistance and job search aid.

Nigel Costley, South West TUC Regional Secretary, said: "The region must gear up to protect valuable jobs and skills, otherwise the recession will be worse and the recovery will take longer. Most redundant workers will find other jobs, but many will take work below their skills and experience. Some workers, especially older workers with bags of expertise, will opt out of the labour market and skilled migrant workers are going home."

The seasonally-adjusted claimant count in the South West has increased for the seventh month running, now standing at 49,400. This is up 1,900 on the previous month and also up 9,000 on the figure for September 2007 - this is the highest volume since September 2006.

The claimant count rate in the region, however, is still low by historical standards at just 1.8%, compared with 2.9% nationally. It is the pace of increase that is most alarming, according to the TUC. New claims averaged 3,952 per week in September 2008 compared with 3,011 in 2007, an increase of 31.3%.

In September 2008 there were 100,271 Incapacity Benefit claimants in the South West. This is a decrease of eight on August 2008 and also down 1.7% on the same time last year.

There were 88,630 vacancies notified in the region during the quarter from July - September 2008. This compares with 100,128 for the same period last year, a decrease of 11.5%

Said a TUC spokesman: " In July-September 2008 we were notified of 6,588 redundancies. This is 17% down on the previous quarter but up 159% on the same period in 2007. Sectors reporting job losses include education, engineering, house building, printing and manufacturing.

"Over the last quarter, Devon and Cornwall has been notified of twice as many redundancies compared to other districts in the region. Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Swindon recorded the largest monthly number of job losses in September.

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