Call for emergency action plan to save jobs

THE Government has been urged to introduce an emergency action plan on jobs after new figures revealed 360 people have lost their job every working day since the start of the year.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has revealed that Irish companies laid off 7,232 workers in April alone – a 132% rise over the same month last year.

The number of redundancies from January to April this year totalled 27,983 – a 154% increase on the corresponding period in 2008.

Employers’ group ISME has called on the Government to introduce an immediate employment action plan in response to the latest redundancy figures.

Over half of all jobs lost so far in 2009 have been in construction and manufacturing, with another 37% in the services sector.

ISME chief executive Mark Fielding said: “The level of redundancies is frightening, with no evidence of any respite in the near future.” He said it was deeply worrying the Government appeared to have no understanding of the scale of the problem.

“All we hear are excuses as to why we are in this mess without any tangible solutions being presented,” he observed.

Mr Fielding warned that the situation would continue to deteriorate unless the Government immediately implemented some emergency action plan to stop the haemorrhaging of jobs.

“The plan needs to take cognisance of a reduction in the cost of labour, incentives to maintain employment and a reinstatement of training funding which has been significantly cut in recent weeks,” said Mr Fielding.

ISME also claimed the Government figures underestimated the true extent of the jobless crisis as only people with two years unbroken employment are entitled to claim redundancy payments.

Meanwhile, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show all parts of the country are continuing to suffer the effects of the economic recession, with increases in the Live Register recorded across all regions last month.

The largest increases were recorded in the greater Dublin region, with the number of people unemployed in Kildare up 6.6% in the space of one month – the highest percentage increase of any county.

Jobless numbers in Maynooth rose by 10% alone last month. In contrast, the north Cork town of Newmarket saw numbers on the Live Register fall by almost 13% in April.

Some of the country’s blackest unemployment spots are in the capital and surrounding counties of Kildare, Meath and Wicklow, which have all seen jobless numbers double over the past 12 months.

Surprisingly, numbers on the Live Register in Co Kerry fell by 1% last month – the only county to record a decrease.

However, the welfare office in Killarney, Co Kerry, recorded the largest annual increase in jobless figures over the past year – with numbers on the Live Register up 153% to almost 3,100.

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