A failing job market


In the not too distant past when there was a major jobs announcement, it would be a cause for celebration.



But the muted response to Amazon’s drive to recruit 2,500 people for its centres in Gourock and Dunfermline over the Christmas period, tells its own story.



Indeed, it has acted as a reminder about the current nature of employment opportunities in Scotland.



Many of the jobs on offer do not provide people with the security that they need.



They are often low paid and supplemented by benefits. They often provide little or no opportunities for progression. And the absence of organised labour and trade unions completes the disempowerment that workers feel.



The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and others have used academic studies to show that the nature of the job market is leading to significant levels of in-work poverty. Working families are struggling to meet the cost of living. And many of the health problems we face as a society, such as premature deaths, and mental well-being, are no longer just associated with unemployment.



These are not simply matters for employers and employees. We need a serious debate in our country about the impact the failing job market is having on the individual, the economy, and indeed, wider society.



We must put the endless discussions on independence and the constitution to one side, and focus on an issue which is of real importance to the people of Scotland.



After all, a job isn’t just for Christmas. It’s crucial to our way of life, allowing people to support themselves, their families and to meet their long-term aspirations.