Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow, Jennifer Murnane O’Connor, has called for continued Government support for jobs clubs and local employment service centres amid talk of privatisation of such services.
“I have met with my local Jobs Club teams and I heard about the great work and service Carlow Jobs Club offers and has offered over the last 22 years or more to the unemployed of Carlow and county. They have offered a walk-in service where people feel listened to and supported because their job search is tailored to them personally. It is a vital service", commented the TD.
“Carlow Jobs Club is a project under Carlow County Development Partnership. We in Carlow really would be lost without them. These are essential community services. These services are community-rooted, not-for-profit and nobody can deny they have supported jobseekers especially in disadvantaged areas.”
“The push from government to privatise this service is troubling to them and without such a service the people of Carlow will be without support. “I was heartened to hear the Minister so engaged on this and willing to take on board learnings from the pilot tenders in locations where there is no service. The Minister has assured me no service was being privatised and realised the value of the centres.” Deputy Murnane O'Connor added.
This comes after the trade union Siptu, claimed that the Government is seeking the privatisation of local employment services.
The union on Friday staged a protest outside the Department of Social Protection in Dublin city centre.
Speaking at the protest Mary Oakley, a leader at Portarlington job club in Co Laois, said: “It’s not viable for us to go into a tendering process, we don’t have the financial resources, we’ve been basically excluded for going for our own jobs.”
“The problem is that the same service will not be met going forward, we’re really part of the community, we’re really client focused and provide a real wrap-around service.”
The Department of Social Protection said separately, the current contracts for all contracted public employment service would expire at the end of 2021 and it was, “ therefore, developing RFTs to ensure that renewed services are procured in a manner that is compatible with EU and national procurement rules”.
“Current service providers are free to tender for new contracts for employment services and are encouraged to do so by the department. The procurement process places a strong emphasis on the quality of services to be provided and it is expected that the current providers will be in a strong position to respond to the RFTs.”
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