Thursday, June 19 16:42:59
There has been a call for a targeted and sustained programme of investment in skills and social supports in the wake of an official report that found 23pc of Irish households are jobless - well above the European avearge.
According to one trade union, Government initiatives to deal with the problem have failed.
The research published by the National Economic and Social Council found that members of these households were either unemployed or underemployed.
"Workfare schemes, such as the mandatory participation requirements in the JobBridge, Gateway and Tus programmes, fail to address the complex issues identified in the NESC report," said Unite regional secretary, Jimmy Kelly.
"The number of jobless households has grown since the onset of the economic crisis, once again illustrating that joblessness is largely a result of a lack of appropriate jobs, rather than an unwillingness to work," he said, adding that there are 26 jobseekers for every vacancy.
"The mismatch between available jobs and the skill levels of many jobseekers is also not surprising given the heavy job losses in areas such as construction and retail. “Blunt instruments such as workfare simply displace work paid at market rates while doing little to address the household jobless crisis," Kelly said.
"Since the onset of the crisis, Unite has consistently argued for a programme of investment in skills and upskilling, including learner-centred literacy and numeracy training, combined with an Employer of Last Resort programme. This would see the State directly providing employment, paid at above minimum wage levels, coupled with training and other supports. Such investment can no longer be postponed. We cannot continue consigning one in every four households to the fringes of our economy and our society."