Job losses can have devastating effects on communities. When those communities have large numbers of households struggling with debt and paying for essential everyday living, the impact can be even more damaging.
Earlier this year we were told that millions of households do not earn enough to meet their commitments. A recent report in the Guardian showed almost a quarter of all Britons said they are struggling to make ends meet, while 62% said they were often worried about their levels of personal debt.
Growing concerns over manufacturing and the retail sector.
And now, with manufacturing companies expressing their concerns over Brexit and the retail sector on the highstreets showing signs of ever increasing problems, we are left to wonder what will happen to jobs in the future.
We already know that technology will change the way we work and the jobs that we will do. The good news is Schools, Colleges and Universities are diversifying their curriculums and training programmes to encompass the skills we will need to take on the new jobs and professions that technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, amongst others, will bring.
Retail Sector job losses.
For those in more traditional jobs, there is little comfort. Tesco have revealed recently it will be shutting some of its city centre stores and converting dozens of others to a new discount format store, to be called Jacks, the first of which will open in Cambridge later this week, in a bid to compete with discount stores such as Aldi and Lidl.
Thousands of jobs are at risk. The chief executive of Tesco, Dave Lewis, who joined the company in 2014 has slashed thousands of jobs in the past 4 years in his efforts to increase profit margins.
Tesco is not alone; Marks and Spencer has recently been implementing the latest round of its store closure programme in its battle to improve profitability.
In all, M&S plans to close 100 shops by 2022. It says the turnaround is “vital” for its future.
The company did say the vast majority of the staff working in the stores closed so far have been relocated within the business. However, it has warned that this will not always be possible and that more redundancies are likely.
Since the start of this year, a number of retailers have collapsed, including Toys R Us, Maplin and Poundworld.
Other stores, such as DIY chain Homebase and clothing chain New Look, have announced restructuring plans of their own that involve closing large numbers of outlets.
Department store chain, House of Fraser has gone into administration and was bought by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct for £90m.
Mr Ashley said he wants to transform the 59-store chain – which employs 16,000 people – into the “Harrods of the High Street”. Although administrators said some jobs could be preserved, there are sure to be substantial job losses.
In the car industry, Jaguar Land Rover, the UK’s biggest car manufacturer has already voiced its concerns over job losses in the event of a bad Brexit deal or even worse, no deal.
Its, Chief executive, Ralf Speth has told the prime minister that the company’s factories faced grinding to a halt and “tens of thousands” of jobs in the sector could be lost if she failed to reach an agreement with Brussels.
He described the prospect of a cliff-edge break with the EU as “horrifying”, warning that if wrong decisions were taken now it could result in the “worst of times” for the UK.
He stressed the company was “firmly committed” to the UK but warned that a hard Brexit would cost it £1.2bn a year, wiping out profits. “What decisions will we be forced to make if Brexit means not merely that costs go up, but that we cannot physically build cars on time and on budget in the UK?”
He also criticised leading Eurosceptics claims that there is “nothing to fear” about crashing out of the EU without a deal.
Similar warnings have come from other industry chiefs, including Airbus and BMW, about the potentially damaging consequences of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.
Pro-EU Campaign Group’s analysis.
A recent article in Scotland’s award winning current affairs magazine, Holyrood, reported that according to analysis by the People’s Vote Campaign, a pro-EU campaign group, 220,000 jobs are at risk in both the private and public sectors.
The figures from the analysis suggested that the worst affected industries would be manufacturing, where 31,000 jobs are at risk, administrative and support services, and professional, scientific and technical professions.
Affected industries include manufacturing, which would face £40m in extra costs per year, the chemicals sector, which would face £51m in extra costs per year, and the machinery and transport industry which would face £80m in extra costs per year.
The news comes with just 200 days to go until the UK leaves the EU in March.
Former shadow minister for industrial relations Stephen Doughty MP said: “The myth that there can be a jobs-first Brexit is now dead.”
Talking about a scenario of a bad deal or no deal he said, “Both will be bad news for working families, both will mean job losses, cuts in hours worked and wages earned, and both will mean years more of damaging austerity for public services.