September 22, 2011

Globalisation Fund: EUR55 million support package for unemployed Irish construction workers

An application for assistance from the European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF) with dealing with the effects of the economic downturn on the Irish construction industry has led to a European Commission proposal to fund 65% of a EUR55 million package of measures to boost the reemployment prospects of redundant workers in small and medium sized enterprises associated with this sector. The proposal will now go to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers for their approval.

The funding, announced on 5 October, is to be directed towards 5,987 affected workers deemed to be experiencing the greatest difficulties re-integrating into the labour market. It must be used over the next 2 years to provide occupational guidance, vocational training and education programmes, enterprise/self-employment assistance, and training allowances and income supports. This is to include the provision of on- and off-the-job training for 2,258 redundant apprentices by means of alternating temporary employment and college education. Overall, ex-workers from 3,348 firms are to be targeted.

The three applications which covered ''construction of buildings'', ''specialised construction'' and ''architectural and engineering'' collectively represent, far and away the largest scheme sanctioned by the EGF since 2007 and brings the amount of assistance provided to Ireland by the fund to over EUR60 million from a total of EUR357.7 million to date. It is also one of the first occasions where EGF will be pressed into action on the basis of an entire industrial sector experiencing difficulties relating to broad economic circumstances rather than as a consequence of a single large employer closing business and relocating to a less expensive location elsewhere.

Further detailsGlobalisation Fund will be available to more workers in future

Meanwhile, on 6 October the Commission published its proposals for the new EGF Regulation. The planned changes to the fund are intended to improve its scope of operation from 2014 onwards. These include making its support available to additional categories of workers - those on fixed-term contracts, temporary agents, the self-employed and the managers of micro or SMEs - whose collective scale of redundancy satisfies the general eligibility criteria.

A more radical departure relating to the notion of dealing with the effects of ''structural changes in world trade patterns and unexpected major crises'' is the proposal to allow Farmers to benefit from transitory support to facilitate their adaptation to a new market situation resulting from the conclusion by the EU of trade agreements affecting agricultural products. This would be through a differentiating of their circumstances from those of other workers and a requirement for more easily fulfilled conditions.

Henceforth there will also be more emphasis placed on active measures as opposed to allowances. Time periods for approving Member States' applications will also be shortened by imposing new deadlines and streamlining procedures. An indicative amount of close to EUR420 million will be made available for EGF each year.

Regulation proposal

Posted by iroronan at September 22, 2011 10:44 AM

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