NI Executive must include targets for Manufacturing employment, R&D Investment, Productivity and Living Wage
Unite committed to continued positive engagement with parties to advance growth, equality and reconciliation
July 22nd: Speaking as his union submitted their response to the draft Programme for Government Framework, Unite Regional Secretary, Jimmy Kelly said:
“Unite welcomes the opportunity this consultation has afforded us to participate in the setting of policy for the new Executive term. While we remain committed to continuing our positive engagement with the Executive parties to advance growth, equality and reconciliation, our response to the consultation was highly critical.
“The current framework identifies fourteen largely non-contentious outcomes for Northern Ireland but the 42 indicators and measures identified to assess their delivery are wholly inadequate to the task.
“There is a complete absence of measures on the output or employment of the Manufacturing sector, or other critical sectors, no target for R&D investment, no target for productivity, no target for the proportion of workers being paid a Living Wage. At a time when Northern Ireland faces the challenges associated with Brexit and our economic output in real terms remains smaller than it was eight years ago – such absences are both inexplicable and inexcusable.
“In more general terms, we are concerned that the adoption of an outcomes-based approach, without any engagement on the means to deliver on those outcomes, undermines wider social engagement in the consultation process and threatens to open the door to low-cost, corner-cutting approaches to delivery, such as outsourcing and privatisation.
“The principles of equality, a rights-based approach and a commitment to adequately funded public services must be included as cross-cutting priorities. We also believe that any programme for government should be brought forward alongside a long-term public investment strategy necessary to underpin future regional competitiveness and growth”, Mr Kelly concluded.