Wage demands will sabotage recovery and employment growth.
Government must focus on reducing state-driven costs.
ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, welcomed the slight drop in the seasonally adjusted figures from 11.9% in February to 11.8% in March, according to the latest Live Register figures from the CSO today, (2nd April). The Association reiterated its demand for a total Government focus on costs, to ensure that competitiveness remains a priority, which will lead to the creation of jobs over time.
There are now 396,900 people signing on the dole, a reduction of 1,800 in the month. The worrying number of long-term claimants has risen to 45.8% of the total.
Commenting on the figures, ISME CEO, Mark Fielding said, “The drive for jobs must not be sabotaged by the demands for wage increases, which will simply stall any fragile recovery as the cost of labour is by far the most significant driver of business costs for most enterprises – particularly for micro and small businesses”.
“If we are serious about a sustained recovery, we must, as a country, continue to reduce our overall business costs and increase our competitiveness. Despite recent cost improvements, due to the recession, Ireland remains a high cost location for a range of key business inputs and pressure is mounting on a number of costs including wages, property, utilities, transport and credit.”
The Association called on the Government to:
Focus on cost-competitiveness related to our international competitors.
A total overhaul the social welfare system to make it worthwhile for people to work.
Increase job-rich infrastructure investment.
Attack the scourge of ever-increasing black-market activity.
Address the lack of bank credit for productive SMEs.
“It is imperative that Government address these pressure points through structural and policy changes to ensure that business costs do not escalate as Ireland slowly returns to positive growth”, concluded Fielding.