herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Dole figures decline but 203,000 still jobless

Employment

Dole Queue. People queue down Cumberland Street, Dun Laoghaire to collect their social welfare payments.
Dole Queue. People queue down Cumberland Street, Dun Laoghaire to collect their social welfare payments.

UNEMPLOYMENT is continuing to gradually decline but there are still 203,000 on the dole, new figures say.

The figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the numbers signing on have dropped 24,900 in the past year, and unemployment now stands at 9.3pc. This compares to 10.6pc at the same time last year, while the Eurozone average is 10.8pc.

Tanaiste Joan Burton welcomed the figures saying they showed "hugely significant progress". The Labour Party leader said the Government will be developing strategies to help reach a target of full employment by 2018.

It comes as Business and Employment Minister Ged Nash yesterday launched a report on so-called 'zero hours' and 'if and when' contracts.

Phenomenon

The University of Limerick review was initially aimed at establishing the prevalence of zero hours contracts, whereby workers are expected to be available for work but are not guaranteed hours.

However, they found that 'if and when' contracts are now a new phenomenon and a more significant problem. Under the arrangement workers have no guaranteed hours or pay.

Mr Nash said this can "drive precarious working conditions", and has promised to bring proposals to deal with the contracts to Cabinet in the New Year, but accepted it is an issue that will have to be taken up by the next government.

The UL study recommends employees should get 72 hours notice before starting a shift.

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