Parliament approves €3 million in job search aid for redundant Irish and Finnish workers
Ireland will get EU aid worth €400,000 for 108 redundant aircraft repair workers to help find new jobs, following a vote in Parliament on Wednesday. On 15 December, Parliament agreed to provide similar EU aid worth €2.6 million for 1,200 redundant IT workers in Finland. The two instances of European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aid were approved by the EU Council of Ministers on 14 December
The aid to Ireland was approved by 580 votes to 100, with 11 abstentions. The aid to Finland was approved on Tuesday by 597 votes to 83, with 13 abstentions.
Irish aircraft repairs and maintenance
PWA International, an aircraft repair and maintenance firm in the county of South Dublin, closed in June 2015 after it decided to concentrate its operations in North America and Asia so as to be near to centres of global aviation expansion. Another reason for the shutdown was a decline in the use of the aircraft engines that the Irish engine shop repaired. In addition, PWA was not able to deliver repaired jet engines to a major customer, Korea Airlines, free of duty because there is no customs-duty exemption clause in the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement. As a result, 108 workers lost their jobs at the company and at one of its suppliers.
This is the third Irish application in the jet engine repair sector to date, making a total of €442,293 in aid to help Irish workers in this sector find new jobs.
Despite voting to grant the support, Parliament nevertheless criticised the Irish application, both for covering too few people and for covering some whom they felt could easily find jobs due to their age and to their specific knowledge of jet engines.
Finnish software firms
Sixty-nine Finnish computer programming firms let staff go in the autumn of 2014 and the spring of 2015, after Nokia and Microsoft software development orders ceased and global competition accelerated. As a result, software development and operating system design tasks that used to employ thousands of Finns were transferred to countries outside Europe. Most of the redundancies were in the area around Helsinki, and in the northern half of Finland, where the unemployment rate is relatively high (11% and 15.7%, respectively, compared to 9.7% in Finland as a whole).
Finland applied for €2,623,200 in EGF aid which covers 60% of the overall costs of reintegrating the workers into jobs. MEPs asked the Commission to oversee and to evaluate the use of the money granted in response to the application.
The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund contributes to packages of tailor-made services to help redundant workers find new jobs. Its annual ceiling is €150 million.
Redundant workers are offered measures such as support for business start-ups, job-search assistance, occupational guidance and various kinds of training. In most cases, national authorities have already started the measures and will have their costs reimbursed by the EU when their applications are finally approved.