More than 100,000 jobs lost in South West since start of the recession

More than 100,000 jobs have been lost in the South West since employment peaked in the third quarter of 2007, according to research released by the Trades Union Congress.

The number of jobs in the region has fallen by 4 per cent, from 2,719,400 in the third quarter of 2007 to 2,615,000 in the first quarter of 2010 – a loss of 104,400 jobs in total across the South West.

Analysis of Office for National Statistics figures shows employment in the South West peaked ahead of the UK as a whole – meaning the region was hit by job losses six months earlier than the rest of the country.

The analysis, carried out by the TUC, shows a million jobs have been lost across the UK as a whole, thanks to the recession.

UK employment fell by 3 per cent, from 31.78 million in the UK employment peak of the second quarter of 2008 to 30.77 million in the first quarter of 2010. The worst affected industries across the UK as a whole are mining and quarrying (-15 per cent), manufacturing (-12 per cent) and construction (-11 per cent).

The TUC analysis shows if the private sector continues to create jobs at the same rate that it has over the last 10 years, it is likely to take 14 years for UK employment levels to those before the recession struck.

In some regions, such as the North West, it will take more than two decades to make up for the jobs lost in the recession and those to come from public spending cuts. For the South West, the analysis shows it will take at least 11 years for the private sector to return job levels to pre-recession levels.

South West figures

Since the South West employment peak of Q3 2007, the worst affected industries are: construction (-24 per cent); transport & storage (-13 per cent); accommodation & food services (-11 per cent); professional/science (-11 per cent); finance and insurance (-10 per cent).

It’s not all bad news: the number of jobs in agriculture, forestry & fishing has increased by 52 per cent since Q3 2007; water supply (+35 per cent); arts and entertainment (+14 per cent); and by 6 per cent each in admin & support services, public administration and real estate.

But overall there’s been a drop of 4 per cent since the region’s employment peak of Q3 2007.

It will take at least 11 years for the private sector to create enough jobs to return employment levels in the region to pre-recession levels, based on the private sector’s growth rate of the last 10 years.

South West TUC Regional Secretary Nigel Costley said: ‘These figures show how bad the recession has hit the South West. Behind the big numbers are countless personal stories of upset and loss.

‘Valuable skills and experience have gone, good firms have suffered. But we fear worse to come given the savage nature of the cuts that are coming. For every public sector job lost there will be even more gone in the private sector.’

Other findings of the TUC analysis include:

There is a clear north-south divide in the decline in the number of jobs. Scotland, Northern Ireland, the North West and the West Midlands have had the biggest falls in employment (-4 per cent) since Q2 2008.

The South West has seen a -3 per cent fall in employment since Q2 2008 – but when the region’s employment peak of Q3 2007 is taken into account, the figures show it has suffered the same rate of job losses (-4 per cent) as the worst performing regions.

The national figures would be far worse were it not for the growth of public sector employment since 2008, particularly in education (+4 per cent) and health and social work (+6 per cent).

Source: TUC

Public Sector Job Losses in South West

The following press release from TUC South West was released in March 2012.


One in 14 public sector workers in the South West lost their jobs between July and September last year, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics.

A total of 37,000 workers – at seven per cent, the largest fall in the country – of those employed in the region by local government, the police, the forces and the NHS lost their jobs.

Nigel Costley, Regional Secretary of the South West TUC, said: ‘All across our region public sector jobs are disappearing in droves as local councils, government agencies and the health service are forced to cut services to the core as the Chancellor’s austerity measures hit hard.

‘More than 37,000 public sector workers in the South West have now lost their jobs at a time when finding work has never been harder.

‘Behind every job loss is not just the job consequences but the loss of valuable public services.

‘Ministers must see that their economic policies are doing huge harm, and with more spending cuts coming down the track and the recovery still weak, thousands more public servants will soon be swelling the ranks of the unemployed.

‘A change of direction which has jobs and growth at its heart is now long overdue.’


This is devastating enough but when you take this together with the results of a recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey of 1,000 employers it gets even worse. It highlights that the governments assurances that the private sector would “fill the hole” made by all the public sector cuts is simply proving to be be pure fantasy without a growth strategy.

The survey showed that a third of private sector employers had kept on more staff than they needed to avoid losing skills.

But almost two-thirds said they would have to cut back if economic growth did not pick up in the next year.

“Recent falls in unemployment suggest that the labour market is on a sound footing, but a closer examination reveals that many employers are holding on to more staff than is required by the current level of demand in order to retain their skills,” said report author Gerwyn Davies.

“This is a make or break moment for employers – unless growth picks up many will find that they cannot hold on to some workers any longer.

“The tenacity with which employers are hanging on to skilled labour is a reflection of the high value they place on it and the damage they fear will be done to their businesses if they are forced to start making more redundancies.”

The survey also showed that public sector organisations were predicting average pay rises of 0.2%, compared with 2.5% in the private sector.

Source: BBC

Lobby Against South West NHS Pay Cartel

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Please support a lobby of Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust against the South West NHS Pay Cartel on Thursday 6th September at 3.30pm during their AGM.

NHS Trusts across the South West have joined together and contributed an opening ante of £10,000 for a ‘war chest’ to attack national bargaining and introduce regional pay. The once ‘secret’ proposals make it clear that each Trust wants to reduce their pay bill from 68% to 60% which has the net effect of reducing individual earnings by up to 15%.

It is no coincidence that this is happening in the South West as general union membership density is low with many unorganised workplaces. If we allow this to happen in the South West it will happen everywhere else! We are posing great resistance towards the Cartel and it’s proposals which threaten to undermine the current national negotiations and we are looking to extend our campaign.

Please feel free to circulate this event to any other relevant groups who could lend their support to prevent the dismantling of the NHS and collective bargaining.

Sign this petition to say NO WAY to Postcode Pay!

UNISON demo outside Poole Hospital

Several hundred delegates from the UNISON conference being held at the BIC in Bournemouth attended a lunchtime flash demo, on June 21st, outside Poole General Hospital in protest against the South West Pay NHS Cartel.

Sixteen NHS trusts in the South West have banded together in a bid to make “radical” changes to staff pay, terms and conditions outside of the national Agenda for Change agreement. Each trust paid £10,000 to join this cartel.

The consortium of trusts is considering a suite of proposals to reduce workforce costs by 8 per cent across the region.

A leaked document drawn up by this consortium reveals that, if a deal cannot be reached, trusts may consider dismissing staff and rehiring them on the new terms in order to force through the changes.

Plans include changes to working hours, annual leave entitlements and pay. The consortium also intends to look at “attractive, performance-driven approaches” to pay and conditions.

Poole NHS trust is a “key player” in setting up the cartel as its chief executive, Chris Bown, is chair of its steering group.

Unison say the plans will “damage patient care and drive down pay”, and threatens the future of on-going national negotiations between unions and government representatives on changes to Agenda for Change.

Unison South West state: “We believe the cartel’s approach is simply a cost cutting exercise which will affect the quality of services.”

“The consequences for the region will be disastrous; skilled health workers will be driven out of the region, taking money out of the local economy, deepening the healthcare postcode lottery.”

Unison head of health Christina McAnea, said: “The setting up of this pay cartel is a crude attempt to drive down wages, which in turn will damage the quality of patient care in all 16 trusts.

“The cartel will lead to shortages of key staff who will vote with their feet and move to hospitals where the pay is better and patients will be the ones who suffer.”

She added: “Cutting wages of hospital workers will also have a knock-on effect on already depressed economies in the South West. Health workers are already suffering from a two year pay freeze and this further assault on their pay and conditions will hit morale as well as their spending power.”

“We do not want rogue employers threatening to undermine the stability of national pay bargaining and Agenda for Change. It is not too late for those 16 trusts to do the right thing by their patients and staff and drop this damaging and divisive plan.”

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Sources: UNISONHealth Sources Journal Nursing TimesRCN

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