Report Will Deepen Unemployment Crisis
Vigorous Campaign To Defend Public Services Must Be Launched
The People Before Profits Alliance today condemned the report from An Bord Snip Nua as predictable scapegoating of the public sector.
If the recommendations in this report are implemented public services will be devastated and pensioners, the poor and disadvantaged will see the incomes slashed.
Councillor Joan Collins said “This report was written without any thought for the devastating effect its slash and burn recommendations will have on the lives of ordinary people. Services in schools and hospitals will be slashed. The incomes of the poorest will be slashed. This report targets teachers, health workers, children with special needs, social welfare recipients, medical cardholders and pensioners. These people did not create the economic crisis. When will we have the report which tells us how the rich are going to pay for the mess they created?”
Councillor Richard Boyd Barrett said “If this report is implemented it will set off a deflationary spiral which will deepen the unemployment crisis. Over 17,000 jobs are to go at a time when the state should be leading the drive to create jobs. In its obsession with cutting there no consideration of how the state can play a role in creating jobs which will improve services to the public and provide the housing, schools and hospital which we need so badly.
There is now a crying need for a vigorous campaign to defend public services and the incomes of workers and those dependent on social welfare.
During the Public meeting last night, it has emerged that while the Beech Unit will remain open, the cuts in Cherry Orchard Hospital are continuing. Instead of the Beech Unit closing, the axe is falling on the other units at Cherry Orchard Hospital: Sycamore, Willow and Laurel. A whole new series of patients and families are being affected. Although the exact figures are unclear as of yet we are aware that patients will be moved to private nursing homes from this weekend. Many these patients are suffering from Alzheimers and Dementia and see Cherry Orchard Hospital as their second home.
The HSE are robbing Peter to pay Paul in a cynical attempt to disguise their cuts, changing the wards and the names of those shuffled out to private care. Changing the names will not reduce the stress and trauma involved in such a move for patients and their families. This is another example of how the most vulnerable suffer from the Embargo on staff recruitment in the Health Service. There is a real human cost in all of this, which cannot be hidden by changing the names of the wards that face cuts.
On Monday 13th July at 1pm the People Before Profit Alliance organised a protest in support of 13 contract cleaners who were unlawfully dismissed by the private contractor in the Custom House.
People Before Profit Councillor Joan Collins shows her support
The 13 cleaners have been working in the Custom House for 6 years for Eco Facilities Management. When the contract was won by the new company Schorman, the workers were expecting the same wages, hours and conditions as previously under the 'transfer of undertakings' regulation. Schorman secured the contract to clean the Custom House on May 28th. The contract had been held previously by Eco-Facilities Management.
On May 29th letters were issued to the cleaners by Schorman informing them that their hours would be cut from 4 hours to “2.57” hours per day. Although the Custom House hadn't shrunk by a ratio of 4 to 2.57. Which obviously means that the new employer assumed that these women would do the same work in less hours for less pay. Then the 13 cleaners were sacked, and 6 new workers were brought in to do the same job but only getting paid for 2.5 hours while the former employees were paid for 4 hours.
Local Councillors and patients' families learned today (14/07/09) from the HSE in Cherryorchard Hospital that the controversial decision to close the Beech Unit has been reversed. The Beech Unit will remain open for the foreseeable future. This has been the result of a magnificent campaign by the families, who care for the patients, and the local community.
However, there will be some beds closing for the Summer months and the decision on how many beds and in what units the closures will take place, will not be made until early next week.
The families whose loved ones receive respite care in the Beech Unit at the hospital are delighted with the news. Their loved ones will not be disrupted or moved and will remain in Cherryorchard respite care. The Campaign to save Respite Services in Cherryorchard Hospital has achieved some success in pressuring the HSE to change their approach to respite care. The HSE have reassured us that all patients involved will receive a service and disruption to patients and their families will be kept at a minimum.
But our campaign will continue to fight for every bed in Cherryorchard Hospital to be kept open by employing the necessary nursing staff instead of putting patients out to private nursing homes. Despite several requests to David Walsh, spokesperson of the HSE, who promised to give us the costings of employing nursing staff as against paying for private nursing home beds, we still have no answers.
Last Monday was my first full Council Meeting. The long and confusing agenda looked daunting. I thought I would never get my head around it but with a lot of help from Joan and Kieran, I think I got it.
After a long discussion on emergency motions dealing with the recent flooding in Dublin, we welcomed into the council chambers Maria Metcalf who is replacing Maureen O’Sullivan. It’s great to have another truly independent councillor on board.
The next three hours was taken up with Governance Issues – appointments to committees and council bodies (most of this sorted outside of the actual meeting).
Reports from the council officials on protected structures, disposal of properties and the granting of leases then followed. One report in particular was controversial.
A three-year lease to operate the market at the Red Stables in St. Anne’s Park, Raheny was awarded to Fingal Market Management. Previously this was held by the Irish Farmers Market.
I asked the manager to answer three questions on this
1. We are told this was the most favourable tender but we are not told Why - What were the conditions submitted that made this tender the most favourable?
2. Why is the rent - €7,200 per annum - so low? I had helped a friend run a stall at that market two years ago and the rent of a stall for one day was €75 plus each stall holder had to provide their own public liability insurance and deal with their own waste. In one day of the market (and it ran two days each weekend) they would pick up about €1,000 in rent from stall holders.
NEW COUNCIL FACES IMPORTANT TEST TODAY ON PROPOSALS TO DEAL WITH IMPACT OF RECESSION
In a statement, Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett and Cllr Hugh Lewis of the People Before Profit Alliance (PBPA), said today’s meeting (Monday 6th July) of the newly elected Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Co. Council, now controlled by Labour and Fine Gael, faced an important test as to whether it was serious about taking action to deal with the impact of recession in the County.
PBPA has put forward a number of motions aimed at tackling different aspects of the economic crisis, as they are affecting citizens of the county, particularly in the areas of jobs, housing and those on low incomes.
The PBPA proposals include schemes to create jobs employing currently unemployed workers directly to repair boarded-up council houses and establish a council-run farm/market-gardening enterprise, as well as major expansion in the provision of allotments and community garden, so that local citizens could grow their own food.
PBPA also have two motions dealing with bin taxes, calling on the Council to cease threats and legal action against those unable to pay bin taxes and to restore the full waiver scheme for those on low incomes.
The PBPA proposals come, as it is anticipated that County Manager, Owen Keegan, will today give a financial report, suggesting significant cut-backs in Council spending. PBPA believe the focus should be on generating public enterprise and job creation rather than deflationary cut-backs.
Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett said:
The People Before Profit Alliance today called for full support and solidarity with striking electricians. In a joint statement PBPA councillors, Joan Collins, Brid Smith, Richard Boyd Barrett, Hugh Lewis and Gino Kenny, saluted the TEEU for taking a strong stand in defence of workers rights.