Unite has called for local political representatives to work together and establish an economic taskforce to help secure employment for the southwest border region of Ireland.
The region has still hasn’t come out of recession and continues to be impacted disproportionately from austerity policies which are reducing demand for local services and resulting in continued job-losses across the economy.
Ahead of elections political leaders on both sides of the border have been vocal on the need for investment and job creation in this region.
“Politicians need to follow up their words with actions. Unite believes one way would be to build a partnership-based economic taskforce to lead on promoting the interests of this area,” said Unite’s secretary for Ireland Jimmy Kelly.
“Only through investment in growing indigenous business and securing inward investment will we avert the mass exodus of young people overseas,” he added.
Padraig Murphy, chair of one of Unite’s branches in Fermanagh echoed the call for a focus on creating jobs.
“The border region has rich and natural resources and a young labour force which is keen to work but our young people are forced to emigrate to make a life for themselves,” said Murphy.
Fermanagh and Tyrone have some of the lowest wages in the UK, and low pay marks the labour market from Donegal to Monagham.
“The experience of bringing large-scale foreign investment to Leitrim and Cavan in the late 1990’s demonstrates that we can succeed in attracting investment both north and south of the border in this region,” said Murphy.
Low pay reflects the historically low levels of investment and historically low union membership density in this region.
“Securing jobs for this region will require a joined-up approach involving political leaders, trade unionists and local business leaders. It is vital that our political leaders step up to the plate on this,” Murphy added.