Downturn hits Derry’s sorry jobs situation

Liam Gallagher, of Derry Trades Council.
Liam Gallagher, of Derry Trades Council.

The global economic downturn has only aggravated Derry’s already weak employment situation, according to a local trade unionist.

Liam Gallagher, of Derry Trades Council, spoke out after the ‘Journal’ revealed that one in every ten ‘confirmed’ redundancies across the North since January 2000 has been in the Derry area.

Liam Gallagher says that, in many ways, the Derry region’s employment problems pre-date the current global downdown.

“For almost 15 years, we have witnessed the demise of the traditional manufacturing base through outsourcing and the race to the bottom,” he said.

“Those substantial job losses were to be replaced through decentralising of public sector jobs and the growth in finance and service sector employment.

“The global downturn has compounded an already weak employment base. We now have a serious decline in the call centre type work which we attracted; the promised decentralisation did not happen to any significant degree with existing public sector jobs now under threat and we have seen the complete decline in construction work.

“Derry’s growing unemployed and economically inactive have listened to various promises over the last four years ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 new jobs. I sincerely applaud all those who are working hard to bring employment and I hope the ongoing negotiatiations for new pharmaceutical jobs bear fruit.

“However, the present Programme for Government does not inspire confidence that will give hope to the unemployed and, in particular, those 18 to 24 year olds who need urgent government intervention.”