Belfast Telegraph

Public sector cuts warning

By David Jebb

Cuts to public sector employment would be harmful, rather than helpful, to economic recovery, the UK’s largest trade union has warned.

The Unite union was responding to a report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and KPMG which states almost one in three public sector employers plan to shed jobs this quarter.

The report, which surveyed 700 employers in all sectors, states the fall in employment in the public sector looks set to be particularly marked in public administration and defence. Unite’s senior regional industrial organiser, Albert Mills, who represents the public sector in Northern Ireland said: “Public services and their staff are integral to the UK's recovery from the global recession caused by reckless banking practices.

“Numerous leading economists caution against cutting public services, as they view recovery as being reliant on the support public expenditure provides. According to TUC analysis, a 10% cut in 2007-2008 public sector expenditure equates to 200,000 jobs.

“In Belfast, where the majority of the economically active work in the public sector, the impact of such cuts would be devastating — reduced taxation, spending and, ironically greater reliance, on public services such as Job Centres and increased government expenditure on supporting the unemployed.”

Private sector business leaders have expressed their belief Northern Ireland needed to be weaned off its dependence on the public sector. The CIPD's survey of more than 700 employers found firms in all sectors plan to cut 6.2% of their workforce in the first three months of 2010, compared with 3.8 % in the previous quarter.

Belfast Telegraph