Workers must be protected from lay offs and redundancies this winter

Senator Marie Sherlock
03 November 2022
  • Prospect of economic crunch demands robust planning by Government

Labour spokesperson on workers rights Marie Sherlock said protecting work and livelihoods must be at the core of government strategy this winter.

With recent announcements by major employers, coupled with today’s significant downward assessment by Ibec on the Irish economy next year, many people will be deeply concerned about their livelihoods this winter.

Senator Sherlock said the changing of the guard internally within government cannot be a distraction from protecting workers this winter.

Senator Sherlock said:

“Recent economic trends are showing a slowdown of growth which has been further backed up by Ibec’s significant downward revision of economic growth to just 2% next year.

“This comes in the wake of fears for jobs in one of the largest private sector employments in the country in the Intel plant in Kildare after confirmation last week of cuts to its global workforce along with planned cuts to other major tech firm. This, coupled with reports from across the hospitality sector and some manufacturing of reduced opening hours, is deeply concerning.

“For the past two months, we have heard employers talk about the threat of rising utility prices and it’s apparent that there will be a sharp rise in insolvencies in 2023 which will inevitably lead to job losses. With people already crippled by extortionate increases in bills and utilities this winter, Government must now step up to the mark for workers and safeguard against temporary lay offs and redundancies this winter.

“We need to see a comprehensive plan in place for the State to help secure jobs and protect worker’s incomes in the event their employer and sector faces a downturn.

“The Government’s current short term work scheme arrangements are simply not fit for purpose with workers having to rely on jobseekers benefit for the days not worked. Workers are already under huge pressure with the vast majority suffering real wage cuts and rising mortgage or rental costs due to the increases in interest rates.

“For many years the Labour Party has been calling for the introduction of a short term work scheme which would ensure that workers would not face a cliff edge drop in income if put on temporary layoff. Labour finance spokesperson Ged Nash has frequently highlighted the need for Ireland to emulate the German example of the Kurzarbeit where employer and the State co-fund the income payable for the days not worked.

“To date, the Government’s response to challenges faced by companies in the form of TBESS is a missed opportunity, with no conditions or incentives to retain jobs and protect incomes. This needs to change.

“The writing is clearly on the wall now and there can be no excuses. The changing of the guard in December cannot cause a distraction from protecting work and people’s livelihoods. Government must not be lulled into a false sense of security with the exceptionally strong growth in income tax receipts of over 15% over the past 10 months compared with last year. We need to see a clear strategy that provides certainty to workers that their income will be protected this winter.”

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