If you were still maintaining “hope” that the economic crisis will soon abate the additional €3.5 billion in austerity at the next Budget will result in potentially another 30,000 job losses according to the Nevin Institute.
Latest CSO quarterly national household figures show that the number of people at work between April – June fell by nearly 14,000. These figures are yet another indictment of the failed austerity policies pursued by successive governments and unfortunately once again put heed to the idea that the economy has ‘turned the corner’.
A document prepared by European Commission troika staff earlier this week sought to blame what it described as “benefits”, such as medical cards and housing, for so many people being long-term unemployed. It tried to peddle the idea that without the removing of these basic human rights, ordinary people would have no incentive to seek employment.
The reality is that there are no jobs available to Irish people unless they emigrate and that the European establishment is trying to use the crisis to drive down working conditions and dismantle welfare provision in an attempt to create a haven for capital investment to exploit the European working class by furthering the race-to-the-bottom.
Some of the more striking features of the CSO report are the rates of employment in construction, industry and retail sectors. Whilst there remains an immediate need for the building of roads, schools and hospitals across the country, the construction sector has accounted for nearly half of job losses since the beginning of the crisis and lost another 4,000 jobs in the first quarter of this year.
The industry sector, which the establishment pins most of its hopes on an export-led recovery in manufacturing, has also seen employment decline from over 300,000 five years ago to 230,200 in 2012. In the first quarter of 2012 the situation deteriorated even further with another 4,000 jobs being lost. The continued policies of low corporation tax rates for multinationals and tax breaks are clearly not achieving job creation but simply expanding the already exorbitant profits of these companies.
The wholesale and retail sector, which is the largest employer in the State, also lost 5,000 jobs in the last quarter. This sector that in many ways is the barometer for VAT receipts and therefore demand in the domestic economy, continues to feel the brunt of diminished investment and its ripple effects.
With 25 million people currently unemployed across Europe, the policies of austerity continue to make the European economic crisis worse. Whilst the heads of the various European institutions and states try to conjure up solutions to plaster over the cracks of this systemic capitalist crisis, the reality is that socialist policies are the only long-term solution to achieve growth but also improve ordinary Europeans lives.
Massive state investment must be initiated immediately to create urgently needed jobs across all sectors of the economy. Unfortunately Fine Gael and Labour will not implement the policies that are needed to turn the economy around. We need a fight back against austerity – with working class people standing up to these attacks as the start of struggle to get rid of the failed capitalist market.