18 June 2009 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe

Queen’s cuts questioned

\QUEEN’S University Belfast is to cut back on at least 150 academic posts with the closure of some departments.
Sinn Féin MLA Sue Ramsey said the university’s citing of funding issues as being the cause of the cuts are “clearly questionable given that funding for the university has increased for both research and teaching while the university reserves are set to rise from £75m to £78m this financial year”.
On top of this, she said, a huge pay rise of £24,000 is awarded to the Chancellor, bringing his salary to above £200,000.
Sinn Féin is calling on the Minister for Employment and Learning to apply the necessary pressure to safeguard jobs and get a proper explanation as to why the university is making cutbacks when funding has actually been increased.

 

Top civil servants’ bonuses need rigorous review

THE review of top civil servants’ bonuses in the North announced by Finance Minister Nigel Dodds must be comprehensive, Sinn Féin Economy spokesperson Mitchel McLaughlin has said. He is also chair of the Assembly Finance and Personnel Committee.
Senior civil servants’ bonuses have been in excess of £1m over the past number of years with individual bonuses ranging from £5,000 to £10,500, regardless of whether or not performance targets have been met. Alongside this, the wages of senior civil servants is 22% higher than the private sector equivalent in the North.


Builder swaps workers with sub-contractors

CONSTRUCTION firm P Elliott has decided to let 25 bricklayers go and replace them with sub-contractors, stating that “there is no work for them”.
Workers and the Building and Allied Trade Union (BATU) say this is not true.
BATU Assistant General Secretary Brendan O’Sullivan said there’s evidence that Elliotts are working on both sides of the border and in Britain on jobs which require bricklayers but using sub-contracted labour. The company is currently involved in the regeneration works at Fatima Mansions in Dublin and in developments at Clancy Quay in Islandbridge and the former Irish Times building on D’Olier Street in central Dublin.
The case is due to be heard at the Labour Court’s Construction Industry Disputes Tribunal this month.


Kilkenny contractor says Portuguese speakers only

A KILKENNY-BASED contractor that carries out work for ESB/Eirgrid only wants potential applicants who speak Portuguese.
The GMB trade union queried the matter after one of its members sought a job in Gaeltec refurbishing high-voltage overhead electricity lines. GMB sent a letter to the company asking why knowledge of Portuguese is required in the job specification for employment based in the 26 Counties. The company has refused to respond.
The GMB will take legal action if their members’ rights are being violated.


Eurozone has jobless rate of over 9%

OECD statistics have revealed that unemployment in the Eurozone area rose to over 9% during April.
The 26 Counties has an 11% unemployment rate, with Spain having 18%. The state now has the second-highest rate of unemployment which is a far cry from the third-lowest rate (4.6%) which the state had in 2006.
The rate of unemployment across the whole of the European Union has been calculated at 8.6%.


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