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Anderson slams Empey on possible job losses

4 September, 2008

Anderson slams Empey on possible job losses

Officials from the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) are to be grilled over a tendering decision which could cost up to 100 jobs in Derry, Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has said.

Ms. Anderson said:

"I have been made aware that a local consortium of training organisations have recently lost out on a vital tender to deliver the New Deal Programme in Derry,"

"These organisations - many of which are community and voluntary groups - have been delivering this programme since 1998.

"However, DEL have now confirmed their intention to award the contract to an English-based company in a move which it is feared could cost up to 100 jobs.

"This pattern is being repeated across the North with three other similar contracts also being awarded to English firms and I have deep concerns about the prospect of organisations with little or no track record of providing this kind of service in our area being entrusted with such a vital responsibility.

"Last year, a major training contract was awarded to another English-based firm Carter and Carter who did not have the capacity to fulfil the contract.

"Sinn Féin vigorously opposed that decision and it was eventually overturned. We do not want to see a repeat of that mistake.

"This is about ensuring that public money is spent effectively and efficiently and that the people get the very best service possible.

"Therefore, I have already written to the DEL Minister Reg Empey seeking an explanation of this decision and how the tendering criteria was implemented.

"Sinn Féin's representatives on the DEL scrutinising committee will also be challenging senior officials next week and I will be inviting representatives of the local training consortium to attend that meeting in person."

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