Fighting For EU Support for Dell Workers
Posted by Alan Kelly on October 20, 2009 at 08:45 PM
For eight months now I have been working with the DELL Workers Group on trying to secure them a better deal following the withdrawal of the DELL company from much of its plant in Limerick. This has had a huge impact on the economic well being of the Mid West as a result of the thousands of job losses amongst families in Limerick, Tipperary, Clare, Kerry and Cork.
I have been fighting on two fronts fro the workers. Firstly, I have always felt that the workers did not get a fair redundancy deal and despite attempts to deal with this locally, I am working with the workers committee in their attempts to get a better deal through the Labour Court. Secondly, as an MEP and working with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, I am working to help administer the 14,8 million that the workers of DELL and Banta will be receiving as part of the European Globalisation Scheme. This funding will be topped up by the Government and will result in a total fund of approximately 21.8 million.
The application to this fund took place in June and it has to be administered by June 2011. It will work out at approximately 9k per worker who can use the fund to set up their own business or receive training or do a third level course. This is obvioulsy a very positive development, but I was concerned at the lack of progress on the administration of the fund so I set up a meeting with the Dept of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) to ensure that it was going to be expediated.
(Meeting with DELL Workers and DETE Officials)
The meeting took place recently and I was happy with the outcome. it was agreed to set up a committee top adminster the fund and this would comprise workers, representatives from the DETE and representatives from the colleges, UL, FAS and Enterprise Ireland. I was particularly happy that the DETE agreed to include Tipperary Institute and Tralee IT as third level institutiosn that could provide courses to the workers, as many of those that lost their jobs came from Kerry and Tipperary, We will be meeting again on this issue in the near future and it is expected that their will be a mass meeting o the issue in Limerick before Christmas.
Before that the legislation passing the funding for the workers needs to go though the Euroopean Parliament and its Employment Committee, whose Chair Pervenche Beres, is part of my European Group, the PES. This is expected to proceed in late November as I spoke with MEP Beres and outlined how important it was that the funding was released immediately. I was glad that a member of my group was Chair of this Committee and she was most helpful and supportive. This is despite the fact that MEP Beres, myself and indeed my group do have issues with the manner in which state aid was used in Poland to ensure DELL moved from Ireland in the first place. However, this is an issue that we will have to return to at a later date. for now its all about the workers futures and I must give praise to Dsnnis Ryan, Gerry Hency and Thomas Costello in particular who are the stalwarts of the DELL Workers Committee and whose committment has been fantastic.