I thank the Ceann Comhairle for allowing me to raise this urgent matter on the adjournment debate. As we speak, 450 workers in Dell will lose their jobs today. It is a very sad for the workers and their families. A commitment was given by the Government that the European Global Adjustment Fund, some €500 million, would be accessed at European level. The application was to be made by Government. The funds would be used to provide retraining, counselling, to enable people to access alternative employment and to enable people to set up their own small business. To date, that has not happened.
I wish the 450 Dell workers concerned all the best. They are just the first group. In excess of 500 people will lose their jobs in Dell in July, in October another 500 will be lost and by next January another 400 will be lost, a total of 1,900 manufacturing jobs and 100 in the non-manufacturing area. That figure does not include people in Banta Global Turnkey, where 477 jobs will be lost and Flextronics, where almost 268 are being lost, all directly related to Dell.
Dell has been a great employer and provided a lot of down-stream jobs, but the contraction of its operations in Ireland has had a major exponential knock-on effect in Limerick and the wider community. We want to see Dell remain in Limerick, where 1,000 higher-end jobs are expected to be retained. It is extremely important not only to retain those jobs, but to build on them. I put forward a model in terms of what Apple did in Cork. The Government and agencies such as the IDA and other need to work with Dell to ensure we can build on the jobs. Perhaps some of those losing their jobs today can be retrained and access some of the new jobs.
In terms of the using European globalisation fund to help the workers concerned, which is the issue I want to raise today, I made direct contact with the EU Commission. On 1 May, the new rules on the fund will apply, whereby the EU will provide 65% of the funding and the State 35%. The current situation is 50% EU and 50% for the State. It will apply to cases of 500 redundancies or more, whereas currently it is 1,000 redundancies. It will apply for a two year period rather than the current one year period. Most importantly, it relates to an economic crisis rather than displacement of jobs outside the EU.
Dell in Limerick, and other companies such as Banta Global Turnkey and Flextronics, meet that requirement. I strongly urge the Government to make a submission immediately and make the case to the EU Commission. It can make the application prior to the full 1,900 or more redundancies taking place. There is a worry that the number of people redundant at the time one applies will determine the amount of funding received. A case can be made, in terms of Dell in Limerick and Banta Global Turnkey where, because we know the number of jobs which will be lost over the coming months, the fund should be drawn on straight away.
It is critical to retrain people and get them back into the workforce. I understand the new rules have been agreed at Commission level, at the employment committee stage in the European Parliament and at senior official level at the Council of Ministers. They will be passed by the European Parliament this coming Tuesday and will be dealt with by the Council of Ministers thereafter. They will come in to formal effect from July. However, they will be backdated to any application submitted from 1 May.
I see no reason the Government should not be ready tomorrow to make a submission to the European Commission regarding the European globalisation fund. If the Government is not ready to make such a submission, it is because it has dragged its feet and has not been doing the work. This is about accessing these funds. If one looks at other countries which have accessed this funding, they have obtained approval prior to the loss of the jobs. I want a commitment from the Minister of State that this application will be made tomorrow and the funding drawn down, and that the Government will start looking after the Dell employees and others. We now need a positive statement from the Government that it will make this application tomorrow and access some of this €500 million in funding.