Belfast Telegraph

Jobless total increases by 16,000

The number of people signing on the dole soared last month by about 16,000 with a chronic 41% out of work for more than a year.

As the Government announced 5,000 internship placements and vowed to rewrite wage rules for low-paid workers, official figures showed unemployment has edged up to 14.2%.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny denied any suggestions of a Cabinet rift over plans to revise joint labour committee contracts for workers in shops, restaurants, hotels, security and cleaning.

"What we're concerned about is creating jobs and employment for the maximum number of people in the country," he said.

"The structures that need to be reformed here are agreed in principle by the Labour Party, they're agreed in principle by the Fine Gael party that this has to be reformed, and reformed they will be.

"The people we are talking about here are those who are locked out of employment. They are locked out of employment because of the antiquated structures of the system that applies."

Richard Bruton, Minister for Enterprise Jobs and Innovation, claimed a redrawing of the committee wage rules, expected in coming weeks, would only impact on new hired workers, and would create jobs.

Changes can also be expected to cut overtime and Sunday rates.

Another major concern for government, unions and business leaders is how to reverse the growing numbers of long term unemployed - 186,643 out of 457,948 on the Live Register.

The Live Register report revealed the number of people languishing out of work for a year or more jumped by 10,000 last month to 186,643 and now makes up 41% of those seeking benefits.

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