Friday, January 14, 2022

Councillors in Mayo have called on the local authority to support ongoing opposition to a new model of employment services outlined in Pathways to Work.

The Pathways to Work 2021-2025 programme is the government’s national employment services strategy and would require all local employment services (LES) to compete in an open tenders system with private providers.

The issue was raised as a notice of motion during Monday’s council meeting by Cllr Neil Cruise who requested that Mayo County Council supports the Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) and the trade unions SIPTU and Forsa, in their opposition to Pathways to Work.

Cllr Cruise said this would amount to terminating current Job Clubs and Local Employment Services (LES) by the end of 2021 and replacing “the successful 25-year-old community-led and non-profit providers with an untested, unproven centralised profit-driven model of delivery.”

“The LES are gone in 2022 unless changes are made. This proposed model monitizes human beings and a similar system hasn’t worked in the UK,” he said.

His motion was supported by Cllr Donna Sheridan.

“My fear is that if this is outsourced, it may be outsourced externally. Support mechanisms would be online with no face-to-face support and this could affect the most vulnerable in our communities,” she said.

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