January 18, 2022
Government must engage urgently about the future of employment services – Claire Kerrane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has called on the government to urgently engage with trade unions and organisations representing those working in employment services.

SIPTU and FÓRSA have today requested a meeting with the Taoiseach, to discuss the long running dispute with the Department of Social Protection over the future provision of Local Employment Services (LES) and Job Clubs.

This follows their statement that the Department of Social Protection has refused to engage in an exploratory talks process as proposed by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

Speaking earlier today, Teachta Kerrane said:

“I share the disbelief of many about the lack of engagement with unions and organisations representing staff working in employment services.

“Despite the importance of employment services, we have seen the government’s determination to proceed with selling off these crucial services and supports.

“I have called on the Minister to halt the process of tendering employment services many times, but she chose not to listen.

“She refused to listen to the staff, the unions, the cross-party Committee on Social Protection, the Public Accounts Committee and the will of the Members of the Dáil, who unanimously supported our recent Dáil Motion to protect the current not-for-profit community based model.

“I called on the Minister to listen to those working in LES and Job Clubs throughout the entire tender process, but she chose to ignore their concerns.

“We are now in a position where many of the staff providing these community-based services face losing their jobs.

“Last week I again called on the Minister to engage with unions and representative organisations regarding potential job losses and the future of employment services. Yet another call that has so far been unanswered.

“It is simply not good enough. LES and Job Club staff have been let down by the government at every turn.

“I acknowledge the requests of representative unions for a meeting with the Taoiseach on the matter. At this stage, every avenue has been explored and nothing is being done by the government to support those working in employment services and their clients.

“The least the government can do is meet with unions and organisations representing staff regarding jobs and redundancies. We need to see a positive outcome for the workers employed in these services.  

“I am calling now for them to do so with urgency.”

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