You are here

Policy issues concerning Work

Unemployment continues to rise across the EU as detailed in the latest figures from Eurostat. The euro area (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.9% in March 2012, compared with 9.9% in March 2011. 

Unemployment continues its steady rise in the EU.  Ireland's unemployent rate is the fourth worst of the 27 EU countries with only Spain, Greece and Portugal with higher levels.

There is no greater challenge facing Ireland than getting our people back to work. There have
been over 300,000 job losses since a flawed economic model collapsed in 2008 and there are
more than 315,000 people unemployed, half of them for more than a year.
Governments don't create jobs, successful businesses and entrepreneurs do. But this truth
does not remove the need, the absolute obligation, for Government and all sectors of our
society to respond to the jobs crisis facing our country.

The Irish Government’s ‘Action Plan for Jobs - 2012‘ contains more than 270 actions, identifies the Government Departments and agencies responsible for implementing each of these, and sets out timelines for delivery. It hopes to “create the environment where the number of people at work will increase by 100,000- from 1.8 million to 1.9 million – by 2016, and reach 2 million people by 2020”. In practice this means replacing every job that is lost in that period an

Ireland’s unemployment crisis remains the striking feature of the current recession.   Despite this, in Budget 2012 and in the months since the Budget was annnounced, Government has taken hardly any steps to address this crisis and begin the process of seriously tackling the socially unsustainable number of workers who are trapped in unemployment.

Minister Richard Bruton has announced the launch of the Government’s multi-annual Action Plan for Jobs. This has been announced on several previous occasions but this time it has a little more information. Government’s target is to create 100,000 extra jobs by 2015 and to have two million people ‘back at work’ by 2020. Towards reaching this target it proposes to make €2,000 a year available to 5,000 businesses for a decade.

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.

As unemployment reaches its highest point in 2011 Government requires a twin-track strategy – one track focused on job-creation and the other track focused on creating real meaningful work opportunities for people who are long-term unemployed.  Social Justice Ireland believes that while initiatives focused on improving job creation and protecting jobs that already exist are very welcome and necessary, they should not be allowed to create

Social Justice Ireland has strongly criticised a proposal from the OECD that unemployment payments should be reduced over time to encourage unemployed people to take up employment. The vast majority of unemployed people would take up any job that was available.   Just a few years ago the long-term unemployment rate in Ireland was one of the lowest in the world at 1.3%.  Many people became unemployed because of the collapse in the economy.