A leading trade union has said this week’s £105m ‘City Deal’ and ‘Inclusive Future Fund’ injection for Derry is welcome but must not be wasted on ‘glass-fronted office blocks’ to house more ‘call centres’.
The North West branches of Unite said the NIO investment will be judged on the number of decent jobs it yields.
“Unite welcomes the announcement of a significant financial package for Derry. However, the injection has to be properly targeted towards creating higher value decent employment to replace the loss of our manufacturing base,” the union said in a statement.
“That means that this should not end up a cash bonanza for speculators and developers to stick glass fronted office blocks to accommodate more call centres at the lower pay scale,” it declared.
The Secretary of State, Karen Bradley, has confirmed £50m of the £105m investment will go towards a ‘City Deal’, specifically helping to deliver “a Centre for Industrial Digitisation, Robotics and Automation” and “a programme of digital and smart cities interventions”....to “provide a future proof digital infrastructure by delivering next-generation connectivity”.
Derry City & Strabane District Council has said this will enable planning for “a significant landmark riverfront university medical education and innovation hub, comprising a graduate entry medical college and centres of innovation, research and teaching excellence in data-driven personalised medicine, cognitive analytics and robotics and automation”.
Unite, said it must result in good jobs for local people.
“The stimulus must be directed into research and training to provide the high end skills that are needed to compete in attracting good value jobs. It needs to be matched with money for primary and secondary education to deal with the fact that high levels of our young leave school with no formal qualification. Ultimately this stimulus will be judged by the numbers of decent jobs that are created.”