Wednesday, 4 July 2007
Dáil Eireann Debate
13. Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of labour inspectors currently employed by the labour inspectorate of his Department; the number of labour inspectors currently available for assignment on normal duties; the number of labour inspectors currently in training following recruitment; the status of the recruitment campaign to increase the labour inspectorate to 90 inspectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18597/07]
15. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the progress he has made in increasing the labour inspectorate; the proposed timetable for subsequent increases to the labour inspectorate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18802/07]
The delivery of commitments on employment rights under Towards 2016 is a key priority for the Government. The necessary resources to ensure their delivery have been provided. One of the main commitments under Towards 2016 is the establishment of the National Employment Rights Authority, NERA. NERA has been established on an interim basis with Department of Finance sanction for 141 staff. The director of NERA has been appointed and took up duty on 12 February 2007. The management and administrative team are substantially in place. As part of the Government’s decentralisation programme, NERA will have its headquarters in Carlow and the Carlow premises will be ready for occupation by the end of July 2007, with the full complement of management and administrative staff in place.
Three units, which were formally part of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, have been subsumed into NERA, namely, the employment rights information unit, the labour inspectorate and the prosecution and enforcement unit. The social partnership agreement, Towards 2016, provides that the number of labour inspectors will be progressively increased from 31 to 90 by the end of 2007. Recruitment of the additional labour inspectors is progressing.
Seven new labour inspectors were appointed in April 2007, one of whom has reverted to his former office. The remaining six have undergone intensive training and have now commenced on-the-job training.
Advertisements were placed in the national newspapers on Sunday, 10 June to recruit the ten inspectors with specific language skills, namely, Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Russian and Chinese. The closing date for this competition is 5 July 2007.
Agreement has now been reached with the Civil Service unions regarding the recruitment process for the remaining additional 43 inspectors. The recruitment process has now been initiated with a view to all assignments being made by the end of 2007, in accordance with the commitment under Towards 2016.
Deputy Ruairí Quinn: I wish the Minister of State well but his progress to date in ramping up the recruitment to 90 staff has not been satisfactory. Will he meet the targets before the end of 2007, which is not too far away?
Deputy Billy Kelleher: An issue arose with the unions regarding the recruitment process but that has now been addressed. As soon as it was addressed, advertisements were placed in the national newspapers. I am quite confident we will meet the commitments we made in Towards 2016 by the end of this year. We will then have 90 inspectors, including some with special language skills.
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