I thank the Office of the Ceann Comhairle for giving me the opportunity to raise this important issue. Not only is the loss of 100 jobs in CG Services in my constituency a matter of concern, but the closure of the company sends out a signal with regard to industrial policy in the area and job security in the constituency. The announcement comes in the wake of a number of similar announcements in the Cork region, including job losses in Schering Plough in Brinny, the closure of the Irish Distillers bottling factory in North Mall with the loss of 40 jobs and ongoing job losses in the Dairygold co-operative.
The common factor in all these cases is that they involve companies which are either based in my constituency or employ my constituents. Through the Minister of State at the Department of Education and Science, Deputy de Valera, I want to make the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment aware that it is not good enough for my constituents to hear Government representatives discuss the ongoing employment problems in complacent terms. We regularly hear that we have full employment, yet only this week a FÁS labour force survey found that job growth in 2004 will be the slowest since 1992 and more jobs are being created in the public sector than in the private sector.
Of added concern as regards the jobs lost in CG Services is that the company was a service industry for the pharmaceutical industry in Cork, a significant employer in the region. We have been consistently led to believe that this sector is recession proof. Combined with recent job losses at Schering Plough in Brinny, the announcement sends out a clear signal that something is amiss in the sector and in the Government's reliance on locating many pharmaceutical industries in my constituency and the Cork region in general. I ask the Tánaiste to respond to this and to show concern about these developments, rather than complacently speaking of all being rosy in the garden. Times are changing; people are losing jobs, job security is increasing and there is considerable uncertainty about those who do not have jobs. The Government has a duty to respond quickly and appropriately to address the uncertainty among many people who are facing unemployment.
On another level, the manner in which the jobs in question were lost creates more uncertainty, particularly with regard to notice periods and subsequent pension entitlements. Despite the introduction in recent years of a range of Acts aimed at enhancing the rights of workers, particularly when they lose their jobs, people are still falling through the net and being made redundant in unacceptable circumstances. Some are finding themselves picking up the pieces having failed to secure the rights and entitlements due to them because their employer has been either inefficient or unscrupulous in living up to his or her responsibilities.
Jobs are being lost in industries which we were led to believe were secure, while workers who have lost their jobs are facing a great deal of uncertainty and are not being appropriately protected by legislation. As the Member for the constituency affected by the most recent job losses, I want the Government to respond proactively and appropriately to announcements of this kind and give some succour by indicating that there will be no further job losses in the pharmaceutical sector in Cork or the industries which serve it.