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Government Must Act Urgently on Long-Term Unemployment

Social Justice Ireland urges the Government to act immediately on unemployment, especially long term unemployment. A report just published by European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) has found that the Irish labour market suffered more job losses proportionately between 2008 and 2010 than any other country in the 27 States of the EU.

 At present 300,000 people are unemployed in the Irish labour market. Almost 150,000 of these are long term unemployed. 
The report found that the impact of the crisis has also differed in terms of its effects on different categories of worker:
·         Younger male workers, those with lower educational levels or in temporary contracts have been most affected.
·         The crisis has largely spared, thus far, those in higher-skilled occupations, especially experienced, older workers.
·         Ireland suffered a 14.5% drop in employment levels between Q2 2008 and Q2 2010. 
·         The greatest decline was amongst males employed in the construction sector
·         The foreign-born working population in the EU 27 States declined most over the period in Ireland (where it fell by 105,000)
Social Justice Ireland has long argued that the unemployment crisis must be addressed and has presented to government a fully-costed proposal on a Part Time Job Opportunities Programme which would take 100,000 of those who are long term unemployed off the live register and back into the labour market. This proposal has already been piloted successfully between 1994 and 1997 and presents Government with a clear opportunity to tackle the structural problem of long term unemployment.
As found in the report those with lower education levels have been most affected by unemployment.   This issue needs to be addressed urgently and Social Justice Ireland has argued that Government needs to invest €20m in Adult Literacy in the coming budget in order to support these people in gaining the skills to allow them to take up jobs when they become available.

The Eurofound report can be downloaded below.

Social Justice Ireland’s Part Time Job Opportunities Programme can be downloaded below