July 28th: Presenting Unite’s Submission in respect of the 2016 Action Plan for Jobs today, the union’s Regional Coordinating Officer Richie Browne said that the role of the state in job creation needs to be reasserted. Mr Browne was speaking following an AJP Roundtable meeting this afternoon with Minister Richard Bruton and other stakeholders.
“To assert that job creation is the function of business rather than of Government is to deny the reality of a modern market economy”, Richie Browne said.
“Not only does the Government create jobs directly, through public sector employment – its fiscal and economic policies can create or destroy jobs. The Government itself admits that over 12,000 direct jobs have been destroyed as a result of cuts to public investment since 2011, while public sector employment cuts have resulted in the loss of 30,000 jobs – shrinking consumer demand and directly impacting on private sector employment.
“We need to reassert the role of the State in job creation – through direct employment, through public investment and through state entrepreneurship, investing in early-stage R&D and providing practical support through institutional interventions from agencies dedicated to areas such as health research and business innovation”, Richie Browne concluded.
Unite researcher Michael Taft added: “We need to ask difficult questions. Despite historically low taxation and wage levels, why does Ireland still have one of the weakest indigenous business sectors? Why is it that private sector investment in the productive economy is so weak by European standards? Why is it that Irish business is reluctant to engage in high-value added activities, and prefers short-term activities than long-term commitments? Is it possible to reform Irish business to ensure that it is a partner for economic growth rather than a drag on it? If not, the implications are profound and show that the foundations upon which Government enterprise policy is based is weak and unsustainable”, Mr Taft concluded.