Thursday, 30 May 2019

Questions (12)

Willie O'Dea


12. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of her planned engagement with community employment, CE, supervisors; the proposals she plans to bring forward to address their entitlement to occupational pensions; if there is a timeline in place for the discussions to be completed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22987/19]

View answer

Oral answers (12 contributions) (Question to Employment)

For the benefit of the House, I indicate that I was approached by a person on behalf of CE scheme supervisors and have been informed that negotiations are in train. That person did not want me to rock the boat, as it were, by pursuing this matter too assiduously. I will bow to that request but I ask the Minister to provide an indication of where matters stand.

I thank the Deputy for the question because it gives me an opportunity to set the scene in terms of what has been agreed. I met unions and CE supervisors on a number of occasions before their planned strike. We had a genuine and decent conversation. The Deputy will be aware that the strike was called off with a view to us establishing a planned engagement in the coming weeks and months.

A first meeting has already taken place and at that meeting we agreed that we would not speak about what we are going to discuss in the coming months. We agreed to respect the process. I know that everyone wants to have an input, to express a view and to reach an expected result. Those sitting around the table include myself and my officials, representatives of both unions and representatives of the CE supervisors. We will continue to meet in the coming months in an attempt to resolve outstanding issues but we will not be making any further comment for now. The Deputy might get a different answer to a formal parliamentary question, which will be much more precise and official, but we have agreed to respect each other within the confines of the conversations that we will have and try to find a happy outcome.

I accept what the Minister says and will leave it at that. I wish to ask an ancillary question. One of my colleagues reminded me that he asked the Minister some time ago if the Department would review the Tús scheme in order that people could remain on it while still engaging with JobPath. The Minister indicated at the time that she would look at that issue and come-----

That was resolved in July 2017.

I am referring to a recent proposal that Tús scheme participants would be able to continue to engage with JobPath. Is that the actual position?

Yes. We made changes on foot of being told that Tús and CE schemes could not find applicants.

We also made them in light of the lobbying done for many months by the good Deputies present, including Deputy Brady. We provided that people on JobPath could be available to go to Tús to see if that was what they wanted to do. That has been the case for some time.

There are no restrictions on it.

People lose their income under JobPath though.

Yes, that is because we want to activate people and get them real jobs. That is the ambition.

Is Deputy O'Dea satisfied with the reply?