Latest Laois News: Threat to Laois Jobs Clubs

Latest Laois News: Threat to Laois Jobs Clubs

Local Jobs Clubs in Laois under threat

Local Jobs Clubs under threat according to Brian Stanley TD

Local Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley has called on the government “to remove the profit-focused approach set out in a tender for Local Employment Services (LES). The Tender as set out makes it almost impossible for local Jobs Clubs in Laois /Offaly to apply for the contract, such as those in Portarlington, Birr, Tullamore and Portlaoise.”

The request for tender is open to applications for the rollout of a new model of contracted public employment service in four areas including Laois/Offaly. This is the first of two tenders. The terms included in the tender have caused significant concern about the quality and future of Local Jobs Clubs.The issue was raised by Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection Claire Kerrane TD with An Tánaiste in the Dáil last week.

Brian Stanley said:

“Having been kept in the dark about the changes to Local Employment Services for so long, we are finally seeing a Request for Tender which encourages a ruthless shift to ‘services’ which focus on profit over people. This is unacceptable and must not be allowed to happen.

“There had been much concern that the tender would threaten the community-based and not-for-profit ethos of existing services, which have been very successful and are well-regarded.

“The ‘payment by results’ model put forward in the tender tells us that the government are looking to implement employment services which focus on quantity over quality or more accurately a headage payment.

“This is not the person-centred approach so successfully fostered by the Local Jobs Clubs and will only result in a focus on profit-driven results which leaves those who need these services behind.

photo of member of Irish Parliament Brian Stanley addressing parliament
Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley says local Jobs Clubs under threat

Local Jobs Clubs are also cost effective. “Portarlington Jobs Clubs for example are able to work with clients who are unemployed and get job placements for for them on a budget of between €1,000 and €2,400”. Private companies that provide the service through what is called “JobsPath” are costing €11,000 per client to secure a job that lasts more than twelve months.

“People deserve quality employment services and we know that organisations already working in this area have experience, expertise and ethics at the heart of the work they do. Sinn Féin are calling on the Minister for Social Protection to withdraw and review this tender immediately.

“Existing local Jobs Clubs must be protected here in Laois/Offaly and across the state.