Northern Ireland hit hardest by public-sector job losses
Northern Ireland will be the UK region hardest hit by public-sector job losses, according to a report from the Trade Union Congress.
It predicts that 25,992 public-sector jobs will go in Northern Ireland, representing 3.2% of current public sector employment. That compares to a predicted 3.0% loss of public-sector workers in Wales, the next worst-affected region, and 1.9% in the South East and East of England, the least-affected regions.
While the percentage of job losses is highest in Northern Ireland, the total number is the lowest, because of its comparatively small size as a UK region. The TUC expects 710,000 public-sector jobs to be lost across the UK by 2017.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “Apart from the huge effect that the job cuts will have upon public services, mass redundancies across the public sector are bad news for our struggling economy, and will have a devastating impact upon local high streets, as newly unemployed workers simply stop spending.”
The job-loss predictions were disputed by finance minister Sammy Wilson, who described them as ‘scaremongering’.
Writing in the Belfast Telegraph, Wilson said: “Such wildly inaccurate claims will do nothing to help us emerge from what is an incredibly difficult economic climate.”
Peter Bunting, Assistant General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ Northern Ireland Committee responded: “The past year we have lost 4,000 public sector jobs. If the finance minister has a problem with that evidence, he should take it up with his own department.”