The European Parliament is expected to make changes to a fund that supports workers who have been made redundant as a result of global changes that affect their jobs.
The parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee recommended the changes to the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) which will be adopted from 2021 onwards. They still have to be agreed by the European Council.
One of the major changes is that workers who are made redundant in smaller countries, such as Ireland, will have a greater chance of benefiting from it.
From now on, Member States will be able to apply for support when a restructuring event of at least 200 workers takes place. The minimum threshold is currently 500 employees.
Ireland South MEP, Deirdre Clune said: "This fund supports workers who are made redundant as a result of global changes that affect their jobs. The EU provides funds to directly support affected workers through upskilling and support to gain alternative opportunities.
There had been a threshold of 500 workers or above to apply for the fund but this has proved difficult for small countries. However, the vote said that number should be reduced to 200.
“This statement reflects the European Parliament’s position and will have to be agreed with council but is should benefit smaller countries such as Ireland.”
Ireland has made 10 successful applications to the EGF. Seven of these applications were submitted on foot of large-scale redundancies from the closure of facilities at Dell, Waterford Crystal, SR Technics (all in 2009), Talk Talk (2011), Andersen Ireland, Lufthansa Technik Airmotive Ireland (2014) and PWA International (2015).
With a budget of €1.57bn between 2021 and 2027, this fund will provide support for people who lose their jobs resulting from major changes due to globalisation, including cases where restructuring events happen because of automation, digitalisation or the transition to a low-carbon economy.