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Government approach to banking is failing workers and small business – Tóibín

9 March, 2012

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on jobs, enterprise and innovation Peadar Tóibín TD has said that the government’s approach to banking is failing workers and small business.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“The 2,500 job losses announced yesterday will have a devastating effect on the workers with AIB and First Trust in the North.

“These follow the 950 jobs lost at the beginning of the year in the Ulster Bank as well as the 6,000 job losses in the banking sector since 2008.

“It is clear that a restructuring of the banking sector is taking place. However this restructuring needs to be driven not only by financial concerns but also by consideration for the workers who face an uncertain future.

“The scale of the job losses in the banking sector is in many ways a result of the EU insisting on an overly rapid deleveraging from the market. This currently is the government’s primary concern. The negative side of this is also seen in the fact that 50% of small businesses are being denied credit which is freezing the domestic market.

“The government needs to change its policies to fix the real economy. It needs to put credit-flow to small business as its primary concern. This would organically allow proper levels of staff to remain in the banking system. That is not happening now. Government policy is negatively impacting across Ireland and necessitates a co-ordinated approach between the government and the northern Executive.

“There is a need also for justice for workers losing their jobs due to the actions of a few senior figures who left with enhanced packages and benefits.

“The government needs to use its position of influence to ensure a just settlement for workers is achieved and that a package of support is developed for those who choose to return to the labour market.

“The government needs to learn the lessons of the failures of previous applications to the European Globalisation Fund. A targeted project to reskill those made unemployed in the banking sector is needed as a matter of urgency.”

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