Picket at Taoiseach’s Cork office over concerns for local employment centres

The unions have said their action is due to growing concerns about the future of up to 400 Local Employment Service and Job Club jobs across the country
Picket at Taoiseach’s Cork office over concerns for local employment centres

The Government is in the process of replacing the current model of Local Employment Centres and Job Clubs with a new model of Regional Employment Services, and community-led Local Employment Services must compete in open requests for tender against private operators.

Members of the SIPTU and Fórsa unions are set to picket Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s Turner's Cross constituency office today.

The unions have said their action is due to growing concerns about the future of up to 400 Local Employment Service and Job Club jobs across the country.

Local Employment Services assist unemployed people to progress towards employment by responding to needs for training, education, and access to employment opportunities.

The Government is in the process of replacing the current model of Local Employment Centres and Job Clubs with a new model of Regional Employment Services, and community-led Local Employment Services must compete in open requests for tender against private operators.

A SIPTU spokesperson said the union had written to the Taoiseach appealing to him to intervene in their dispute with the Department of Social Protection over their plans to put out to tender services that the union said had been provided for the past 25 years by the community and the non-profit sector.

In November, Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys told the Dáil that the Government was legally obligated to put the services out to tender.

“The existing services were first contracted for more than 20 years ago and there has been no formal procurement process in the intervening years," she said.

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) had requested that all parties attend exploratory talks on the future provision of local employment services, but the Department of Social Protection has not engaged in the process.

SIPTU’s spokesperson said weekly protests by union members will continue outside the Taoiseach’s office until such time as Mr Martin intervenes and a process is found to resolve the matter.

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