29 May 2014


The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed held its Annual Delegate Conference on Wednesday 28th May, in Wynn’s Hotel, Dublin. 

In welcoming delegates to the Conference, Ann Fergus, Galway Peoples Resource Centre and Chair of the INOU noted “the critical importance of a social welfare payment to so many people’s lives and the difficulties unemployed people are facing in making ends meet”. During the course of the morning delegates debated the need “to campaign for the restoration of core social welfare payments to a level which the payments were at before the economic downturn.”

John Douglas, President of ICTU gave the opening address to the conference on the theme of Decent Work. Later on delegates debated what kinds of employment services are need to support unemployed people to find decent work.

A critical question for delegates was the issue of jobs in their local area and how accessible these are for unemployed people.  Amongst the motions to the Conference was call from the INOU’s General Branch “for a national investment plan to create decent jobs including a comprehensive public works programme and a lifting of the public service embargo”.

Other motions to Conference covered a range of issues that had at their heart a strong call to treat unemployed people fairly and with respect and to address issues of inequality in the labour market. The Conference debated the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre motion which called “on the Government to actively address ageism in the labour market and to ensure that all jobseekers, irrespective of their age, are treated equally and fairly when applying for jobs."

Earlier in the week the Central Statistics Office published the latest Quarterly National Household Survey, Quarter 1 2014. On an annual basis the key headline figures appear to be moving in the right direction: employment up by 2.3%, unemployment down by 11.6%. However, there are still 258,100 people unemployed of whom 60.5% are long-term unemployed. It is also important to remember those people who are unemployed but not captured in these figures as they are deemed as ‘inactive’ or people who have undertaken an education or training course in the hopes that it will improve their prospects of securing paid employment.

“There are 46,000 people classified as ‘being in the potential labour force’ and this figure captures those who have lost heart trying to find work and ask us ‘where are the jobs everyone else is talking about?’” noted John Stewart, INOU Coordinator.

“Creating an inclusive and accessible labour market remains a very significant challenge facing Ireland and one that must be addressed,” John concluded.


To see John Douglas, President of ICTU giving his opening address click here

To see John Stewart, INOU Coordinator addressing the conference click here