‘Economic volatility’ over, so no excuse for job cuts: ACTU

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‘Economic volatility’ over, so no excuse for job cuts: ACTU

The ACTU says yesterday’s decline in unemployment means employers can no longer use ‘economic volatility’ as an excuse for cutting jobs.

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The ACTU says yesterday’s decline in unemployment means employers can no longer use ‘economic volatility’ as an excuse for cutting jobs.

Despite expectations from economic commentators that unemployment would rise, the ABS figures show it has fallen 0.1 percentage point, to 5.1%, thanks to an increase of 46,300 jobs last month.
 
ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence said big business must stop gambling with Australian workers’ livelihoods to satisfy short-term profit grabs and [put] the interests of shareholders ahead of workers.

Lawrence said the new unemployment figures removed the excuse of economic volatility from [justifying] the swathe of big corporations’ recent job cuts.

Situation ‘not dire’
 
‘Today’s labour force figures show that Australia’s economic situation is not anywhere near as dire as big employers would have us believe as they attempt to justify slashing jobs,’ he said.

‘We need to pull together to minimise job cuts like the recent high profile announcements at places like ANZ, Toyota, Holden and Qantas, which are distressing for all workers involved and for all other workers in these sectors, whose job security is under threat by big bosses who continue to be more than profitable.’

Lawrence said the ACTU understands that sectors such as manufacturing, finance and aviation remain under pressure from the high dollar and other factors, as do particular regions.

‘But it is incumbent on employers to be responsible to protect workers in context of a changing economy,’ he said.

‘The focus should be on assisting workers who lose jobs through structural change because of the dollar or other factors, and helping industry to transform.’

Too easy to cut jobs
 
‘It has become too easy for employers to cut jobs and blame overseas uncertainty. If employers start slashing jobs at the first sign of difficulty then Australia cannot get through the current challenges unscathed.’

Lawrence said short-term profiteering brings no benefit to the economy or productivity, and comes at great cost to workers and their families.

‘The reverberations of recent jobs cuts will be felt for a long time to come, so employers must think carefully about the long-term consequences of their actions,’ he said.

Lawrence said job ads also increased by 6% last month, showing an increase in confidence.

‘A strong economy is dependent on growth of secure jobs which will sustain demand, and the fact that we have seen an increase in jobs numbers in January shows the resilience of our economy against the rest of the world,’ he said.

‘The challenge is now to convert January’s growth of part-time employment into full-time or permanent secure jobs in future.’
 
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