Hundreds of local development jobs at risk

Tuesday 15th July 2013

Unions will not cooperate with plans to incorporate the work of local development and LEADER companies into local authorities unless there is early and thorough consultation over the impact on jobs and services. IMPACT official Geraldine O’Brien told The Bulletin that “without consultation there will be no alignment.”

Earlier this month Ms O’Brien said up to 1,900 jobs were at risk in a sector that had already endured three years of service cuts and redundancies.

IMPACT and SIPTU raised the issue with Joan Burton this week and the social protection minister pledged to talk to her colleagues in the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, which is leading on the issue.

Meanwhile, IMPACT’s Local Enterprises branch is coordinating a lobbying campaign of local TDs and other elected representatives.

Earlier this month, delegates at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ biennial conference unanimously demanded that the jobs, pay and conditions of staff in local development and LEADER companies should be protected when their organisations were incorporated into local authorities. An emergency motion, proposed by IMPACT and SIPTU, called on the Government to consult with unions on the issue.

Geraldine O’Brien told the conference that up to 1,900 more jobs were at risk in a sector that had already endured three years of service cuts and redundancies. She said the staff were not covered by the Haddington Road agreement or the earlier Croke Park deal.

The local development and LEADER companies provide a range of services aimed at developing local economies including services and training for the unemployed, enterprise development, education projects for early school leavers, child care, community development, management of active labour market programmes, disability services and services for members of the migrant community.

“Here we have a dedicated cohort of people who have the expertise and commitment to deliver vital services to some of the most vulnerable in our society, and they are being denied the opportunity to have a say in their future,” said Ms O’Brien.