SIPTU calls for a stop to the privatisation of local employment services
SIPTU representatives have called for an end to tenders for state contracts to run programmes to assist people getting back into the workforce which include financial rewards for companies, as they are the beginning of a process of wholesale privatisation of local employment services.
SIPTU Public Administration and Community Divisional Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “If these tendering processes proceed as planned it will lead to the wholesale privatisation of local employment services. This will see the forcing out of the effective community-based non-profit providers of local employment services.
“The Minister of Justice, Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands, Heather Humphreys, claimed in the Dáil Éireann last night (Thursday, 1st July) that this tendering process will not lead to the privatisation of the services. We absolutely reject that analysis. Let no one be in any doubt that the tendering process is designed to force community based programmes out and bring in the profiteers.
“SIPTU representatives believe the tendering process needs to be paused to allow for a structured stakeholder forum which would include existing community providers, service users and trade unions. We wrote to the Ms Humphreys on 16th March calling for an emergency meeting on this issue but she is yet to respond directly to us. However, we do note that the Minister has now said in the Dáil that she will meet with all stakeholders. We would call for this vital engagement to happen without any unnecessary delay.”
He added: “In the meantime, more than 400 SIPTU members working in local employment services will be stepping up our campaign to prevent the privatisation of the sector. We will be writing to all political parties next week seeking meetings with their parliamentary groupings to discuss this issue.
“SIPTU and Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) representatives had a very positive meeting with Labour Party TDs last week to discuss this issue. Labour Party Spokesperson on Social Protection, Sean Sherlock, pledged his full support to the union’s ongoing campaign. We expect all political parties to show the same commitment to our campaign to stop the sale of these essential community services.”