Strong Government response to industrial action essential.
Emphasis must be on getting the 316,296 people back to work.
At the release of the latest CSO Live Register figures today (1st September) ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, welcomed the reduction in unemployment but cautioned against any let-up in the drive for cost control and productivity across the economy. The Association demanded a strong government response to exorbitant trade union wage increases and threats to services which could sabotage competitiveness.
While acknowledging the reduction of 42,780 on the Live Register in the year to August, the Association highlighted the 140,346 long term unemployed which now stands at 44% of all claimants.
Commenting, ISME CEO, Mark Fielding said “There seems to be a total lack of understanding of economic realities from the trade union leadership. The country is still in recovery mode and now facing the additional challenge of Brexit. We simply cannot afford the wage claim-jumping being driven by the transport unions, which will lead to a spiral of claims across the public sector”.
“The emphasis must be placed on getting the 316,296 people on the dole back to work. While current inflation is negligible, cost control, including wage restraint, will achieve the productivity which will lead to higher living standards. This must not be jeopardised by maverick trade unions, hell bent on selfish gains.”
The Association called for:
A robust no nonsense stance on Public Sector pay
A full benchmark and overhaul of all government influenced business costs with a target of a reduction to below the EU average for all, within one year.
A review of labour market inhibitors, social welfare constraints and black economy.
Introduce new and improved activation schemes in conjunction with employers.
Further reduction in state assistance for those who refuse job offers.
Increase job-rich infrastructure investment.
Ensure real measurable access to affordable credit for viable SMEs.
Outsource more state sector services to SMEs.
“The current industrial unrest and unrealistic wage demands have the capacity to scupper the slow recovery. Ireland is still a high cost economy for a range of key SME business inputs and further pressure will reduce job creation and delay recovery”, Fielding concluded.