Responding to the Government’s focus on employment in the newly launched National Economic Recovery Plan, Sinn Féin TDs Claire Kerrane and Louise O’Reilly have called on the Government to ensure that schemes focus on providing quality employment.
The government has pledged to get 2.5 million people back into employment as part of the ‘Helping people back to work’ pillar of their plan. The plan refers to a range of schemes to boost employment and provide work placement but does not provide crucial detail on what those schemes will involve.
Speaking today, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection, Teachta Kerrane said:
“With so many people having lost their jobs throughout the pandemic, supports to help people back into employment will be key as we emerge from the pandemic.
“Minister Humphreys has referred to the updated ‘Pathways to Work 2021-2025’ which is yet to be published. It is concerning that with such an emphasis on ‘intense engagement’ regarding employment we do not yet have detail on the various employment schemes that are planned.
“Care must be taken to ensure that these schemes do not simply focus on quantity over quality and result in a situation where people are being referred to job roles which are not suitable or sustainable in the long-term.
“We have seen the effects of schemes like this through the ill-fated JobPath scheme, which is approaching a cost of an eye-watering €300 million of taxpayers’ money over the course of five years.
“Similarly, for young people reference has been made to a JobsPlus scheme to address high levels of unemployment amongst this group. However, what we have seen so far is suggestive of ‘JobBridge 2.0’. Having campaigned against JobBridge, we are opposed to any scheme which would serve to exploit young jobseekers and displace paid employment.
“The Minister has also referred to an ‘ambitious’ Work Placement Experience Programme for those who have been unemployed for longer than six months. Again, much more detail about what this is involved is needed.”
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Louise O’Reilly TD, echoed these concerns.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“The aims of the National Economic Recovery Plan in terms of jobs and workers’ rights is proof that Sinn Féin has won the argument on the economy and jobs. The focus on the need to create secure, sustainable, and quality employment in high wage, high productivity, and high growth sectors is proof of this.
“Sinn Féin has always been clear that the State is a critical player in the economy, in economic development, and in economic direction; and as we exit the Covid crisis the Government must play their part in building a more robust, progressive economy – a high wage, high productivity, and high growth economy that works delivers for workers and for society.”