The TUC (Trade Union Congress) warned that the jobless total will hit 2.5m by this summer, with some experts predicting it could exceed 4m.
The warning came as the number of people out of work in the UK rose by 244,000 in the first three months of 2009 – the largest quarterly rise in unemployment since 1981.
Insurance company Legal & General has announced 560 job cuts in the face of union pressure. L&G confirmed that 300 full-time staff and 260 part-time and temporary workers face redundancy – with Unite pledging to fight any compulsory redundancies. L&G has said it will keep compulsory redundancies “to a minimum”, but is not ruling them out.
Some analysts are concerned that the insurance sector will suffer badly as the recession pushes more companies to the wall. L&G has already put another £650m aside to cover corporate debt defaults – admitting that it has been using the Great Depression as a comparison.