Unions Nsw Focuses On Skills As Ladder Out Of Poverty

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17th October 2009, 09:00am - Views: 956

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Press Release

Saturday 17 October, 2009

Skills the ladder out of poverty

Unions, government and business must work together to ensure those who feel

the brunt of the global financial crisis are properly retooled to avoid long-term

poverty, Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon said today.

As the world marks UN Anti-Poverty Day, the union movement is calling for a

renewed commitment to jobseekers.

“The lesson from the last recession is that when jobs returned, they were

different positions that required different skills,” Unions NSW Secretary Mark

Lennon said.

“Too many Australians, particularly long term unemployed youth and middle aged

men, were left on the employment scrap heap. We have to ensure that doesn’t

happen again.”

Since the last downturn, the number of manufacturing jobs has declined in raw

numbers, while positions for associate professionals have sky rocketed.

And a 2008 study by the Department of Employment, Education and Workplace

Relations projects a further decline in manufacturing jobs of 28.8 per cent over

the next five years.

A key feature of the current downturn has been the willingness of employees to

accept part time work to keep businesses viable.

With the economy improving, Mr Lennon said companies should now restore

hours and invest in skill development. 

“Underemployment is one of the key factors that drags working people into the

poverty trap,” Mr Lennon said.

“Restoring full hours and giving employees a chance to upskill provides a ladder

to prosperity,” he said.

The underemployment rate – which includes both the unemployed and those

who are seeking more work – now stands at 13.5 per cent, up from 10.1 per cent

in May 2008.

Comment: Mark Lennon 0427 231 800

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