Congress Calls for €1 Billion Job Creation & Protection Plan

1 May 2009

Congress has called for the immediate establishment of a new €1 Billion Job Creation and Protection Plan that would see all the machinery of the State harnessed to the goal of tackling the unemployment crisis.

With unemployment doubling in the last year, Congress Assistant General Secretary Sally Anne Kinahan said inaction was no longer an option: "Government has delayed far too long. The jobs crisis is of the same magnitude and same dimensions as the banking crisis - it requires the same urgency, focus and attention.

"We are proposing a range of new, innovative and creative measures that will harness all the machinery of state to the same objectives - protecting jobs, creating new employment and training and protecting peoples' incomes. This crisis requires an 'all of government' approach as it impacts across all of society, not in discrete and disconnected areas."

Under the Congress Plan, a fund of €1 Billion - comprised of existing and new resources - would be used to ensure redundancy becomes a 'last resort' and people are guaranteed access to training.

A full version of the plan can be accessed at:

The plan would also see the creation of a Social Innovation Fund, which could fund a wide range of initiatives and schemes designed to meet serious social needs - childcare, elder care, community development - and allow unemployed people put their skills to work.

The overriding goals are to keep people 'attached to the workforce', avoid sharp income drops and ensure workforce skills do not become degraded through sustained periods of unemployment.

The plan envisages changes to existing employment and redundancy law, tax law, and the social welfare code to remove barriers to work and training. It also envisages making the education system more directly attuned to the jobs crisis.

It would be driven by an oversight group at national level comprised of unions, business and government representatives. It would provide for a range of new measures and schemes, such as:

State support for Short time working In Holland, an exceptional short-time working scheme provides targeted support for employments in difficulty, with state support for payroll costs conditional on worker participation in training during the 'down' time.
Social Employment Programme Targeted at bridging gaps and deficits in our social and caring infrastructure.
Reforming Social Welfare The system must be refashioned to support alternatives to redundancy. Ending the requirement that workers be 'fully unemployed' means they are free to partake in training. Payments must be based on lost earnings and not the number of days lost. Allow workers in receipt of FIS to retain the payment if their hours fall below 19. Training Guarantee for Workers Employers should be legally required to provide and facilitate training, as happens in most other EU countries, either through paid leave or devoting a proportion of annual payroll to training.

Job Rotation Allow people in work to participate in training, while people out of work benefit from staying within and in touch with the workforce
Apprentice Training A crucial issue if we are not to suffer skills shortages in the future. If the current system continues it is likely no new apprentices will enter the system for several years to come.

Congress Assistant General Secretary Sally Anne Kinahan is available for interview tel: 087 2890923

For further information, 087 9174171