In last week’s Northern Ireland newspapers there appeared three job advertisements, with pay totalling in excess of £100k, for positions in the administration of the Stormont Assembly and Executive.
These have triggered a reaction of deep anger and frustration in the private sector.
How can the Assembly, which is functioning with one hand tied behind its back, and the Executive, which is not functioning at all, be recruiting high level jobs at this time? We in the supply chain to the construction industry will have shed 30% of our employees by the end of this year and in all likelihood more will go in 2009.
It is unforgivable that the Executive is not meeting at this time of crisis within Northern Ireland industry — even a threatened global financial meltdown has failed to move them. In our industry we are seeing people who have devoted their lives to companies having to be laid off, we are seeing young people who, within the last few years, entered our industry with excitement and so much to look forward to, given the prospects of the investment strategy and economic growth. Now they have had their dreams crushed. We are seeing those that are left being put onto short term working. Rural economies are being stripped of essential income as a result of jobs being lost.
We certainly don't believe that the Executive and our Assembly have the answers to all our problems, but what people demand in times of crisis is leadership and direction and we are not getting it.
Our politicians need to lay aside their current political differences and get on with the job in hand to steer our economy through these turbulent times.
The message from members of our association is: Do our politicians not care, is anyone in the public sector listening or are they even aware of the hardship and worry that many families employed in the private sector are experiencing?
Many individuals and companies are now calling on business organisations to pressurise the Executive to get down to the critical business of the day instead of putting political dogma and ideology ahead of jobs.
The patience and willingness of the private sector to work with the Assembly and Executive should not be taken for granted and time is running out where action rather than words is required.
Quarry Products Association