MABS: Varadkar must return to drawing board after Government defeat

unite-white-out-of-redUnite members ‘baffled’ by moves to scrap winning formula

Imperative that any change be driven by MABS users and workers

April 10th: Unite members working for the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) have called on Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar to scrap the proposed ‘restructuring’ of the debt advisory service.  The call follows the Government’s recent defeat on an FF motion to halt plans to break up the local MABS and Citizens Information service companies and replace them with eight regional boards.

Unite represents a majority of staff working for MABS and, at a meeting in Dublin, union representatives said that any change must be driven by users and workers.

Speaking after the meeting, Unite Regional Officer Ed Thompson said:

“MABS has been offering a vital community-based service to hundreds of thousands of people in financial distress for over two decades. This successful service enjoys the confidence of local communities, thanks largely to the dedication and expertise of MABS staff.

“The message from our reps is very clear: our members are baffled by proposals to scrap a winning local formula and centralise control at a regional level.

“Local politicians know the vital role performed by MABS in their constituencies, which is why the Government suffered a swingeing defeat on the issue, losing the vote on Fianna Fail’s motion by 90 votes to 51.

“That vote represented a clear indictment of Minister Varadkar’s plans.

“Considering that Minister Varadkar once claimed that Irish social welfare rates were too high, neither our members nor the communities they serve have any confidence in his ability to understand the needs of MABS clients in particular, and households facing crisis debt in general.

“Given the outstanding success of MABS, which has assisted hundreds of thousands of people for over 20 years, it is difficult to see why any change would be required.

“If a review is deemed necessary, that should be driven by those who know MABS best:  the users, and the workers who deliver the service”, Mr Thompson concluded.

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