The Partnership for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF) suffered a hit below the waterline last week with the announcement that inflation rates had risen to 4.6% in only the third month of the year. A year end rate of over 4% will make the pay element of the PPF meaningless for Irish workers.
This was a bleak background for the first meeting of the social partners in the wake of the PPF's ratification. The outcome of the meeting was that the Dublin government have agreed to monitor the inflation rate to assess its impact on wages. Department of Finance officials maintain that the rate will fall to 3% by the end of the year.
Forums on housing and public transport set up under the PPF will be set up immediately. Negotiations on a childcare package for next December's budget are also beginning.
Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) general secretary Peter Cassells said that the housing forum would consider ``fairly radical proposals''. All of this seems very positive, but there is one central problem - the core leverage the unions had was to hold back on agreeing a wage package until all the housing and childcare elements had been dealt with. What bargaining chips have they now? It seems that once again the ICTU has put the cart before the horse.
Unemployed info campaign
The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU) launched a new information campaign last week to help bridge the gap between employers and the long term unemployed. An INOU study has shown that barriers still exist for unemployed people accessing the labour market.
The INOU have created an Employers Pack, which ``contains practical information and resource materials on recruitment and selection methods, which can be used to overcome any barriers that unemployment may have created''.
The pack also has information on financial subsidies and incentives available to employers who recruit long-term unemployed people. The Employers' Pack can be obtained free of charge from the INOU at (01) 8560088.