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Employment

Despite some modest gains in some regions in the world, millions of women are losing ground in their quest for equality in the world of work, according to a new report prepared by the International Labour Organization (ILO). The report, Women at Work: Trends 2016  examined data for up to 178 countries and concludes that inequality between women and men persists across a wide spectrum of the global labour market.

The transition from near-full employment to high unemployment was one of the most devastating characteristics of the recession. Despite signs of recovery over the past number of months, Ireland’s unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, at 8.8% (December 2015).More alarming is the fact that, despite the recovery, there are approximately 175,000 fewer jobs in the economy now than in 2007.

Social Justice Ireland's General Election briefing on Employment.

US Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, Robert B. Reich has called for the introduction of a Basic Income system.  He has linked Basic Income to labor market uncertainty, to climate change strategy, and to automation.

The European Commission this week published the 2015 EU Youth Report. With regard to Ireland, the report reveals that Ireland recorded the highest fall in percentage points in its youth population since 2010 (-4 pp.). Ireland also recorded one of the largest proportions of young citizens leaving the country to settle in another EU Member State, although this trend is declining.

We are focussing far too much on the performance of the economy and not nearly enough on issues such as aging, social housing and sustainability, that have major implications for the wellbeing of individuals and society as a whole according to the National Social Monitor 2015 published by Social Justice Ireland.  It goes on to argue that a balance is required between the various aspects of life if the wellbeing of this and future generations is to be secured.

  • There are 272,000 fewer full-time jobs in Ireland today compared to 2007 (-15%).
  • The number of people in part-time jobs is 55,700 higher than in 2007 (+14%).
  • More than a quarter (115,500) of part-time workers are underemployed.
  • Between 2010 and end-2014 the number long-term unemployed fell by 48,700.
  • But, in the same period the net loss of Irish people to emigration was 123,800.
  • 58% of those unemployed are long-term unemployed (more than one year).

A new study shows that multiples of the national minimum wage are required if many households with children are to afford the full cost of formal childcare and simultaneously provide a Minimum Essential Standard of Living,.

The Government’s Low Pay Commission should agree to raise the minimum wage towards the living wage level and should also make the two basic income tax credits refundable if they are to really address the ‘working poor’ issue.

The scale and severity of the 2008-2010 economic collapse saw Ireland revert to the phenomenon of widespread unemployment.   The scale and nature of our unemployment crisis deserves greater attention, in particular given the scale of long-term unemployment. Addressing unemployment and the need for investment are key parts of Social Justice Ireland’s Policy Framework for a Just Ireland. A full analysis of the challenges and our proposals on Work are contained in our Socio-Economic Review 2015 ‘Towards a Just Society’.  The chapter is available below.

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