Continued cuts spark worrying trend – new industrial policy framework needed

02 February 2023

Labour employment spokesperson Marie Sherlock has said continued announcements of job cuts across the tech, retail and hospitality sectors demands government action.

Calling for a new national industrial policy framework that prioritise the scaling up of indigenous Irish enterprise, Senator Sherlock said Ireland will continue to be exposed to a dangerous and excessive reliance on foreign direct investment for high value, high paying jobs.

Senator Sherlock said:

“I want to express solidarity with all PayPal employees receiving worrying news about the future of their roles in Ireland this week. While it is unclear what impact the proposed job cuts will have in PayPal’s Irish operations, it is a really worrying time for all its workers, for jobs and for the economy in general.

“PayPal is the next in the long line of tech companies that have announced that they will impose job cuts over future months. It’s important that we don’t lose sight that while tech companies are commanding the headlines, we continue to see job losses in both the retail and hospitality sector.

“News from Britain this week regarding Tesco will certainly send a chill down the spine of Tesco workers here.

“In such a precarious labour landscape, Minister Coveney must now step up and reform the TBESS scheme as it’s clearly failing to stop companies going out of business.

“We also need to see a proper short-term work scheme put in place to protect vulnerable workers from these headwinds.

“It’s time for a review from government on the impact that the losses in the tech sector will have on indigenous businesses and jobs – from local cafes and bakeries to cleaning services to legal services.

“7% of all Irish jobs are in the ICT sector, and that constitutes 12% of our income tax take as well. This doesn’t take into account the jobs it creates in communities it locates.

“In light of this, we need a response from government. The newly appointed Minister for Enterprise Simon Coveney must assuage workers’ concerns and ensure there is a framework in place to catch any and all workers impacted by the global tech shock that is showing no sign of abating.

“The galling thing about this is it is the tech companies that overshot the runway in terms of adding jobs in recent years, yet, as always, it is the workers who pay the highest price.

“In recent years, the Labour Party has identified the need for the state to diversify our economy more generally. There is an excessive reliance on foreign direct investment for high value, high paying jobs. While we want to see Ireland remain an attractive location for FDI, the overall industrial policy approach needs to change.

“All the warning signs are there and Government must now heed them. As a country we need to get serious on developing a new national industrial policy that will continue to ensure that we can attract the kind of high quality foreign direct investment but it must also ensure good, secure, union jobs while also growing our indigenous enterprise base.”

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