The loss of jobs in the country is of great concern. Especially since nobody knows why it is happening. Two sides of the argument are put forward. Some state multi-nationals are leaving for eastern Europe because costs are lower there. The other side of the argument is that those jobs are being replaced quickly and we are being alarmist.
Everybody is agreed about one point on which there is no doubt and I speak as one who is not a great fan of trade unions. The cost base here is a major problem. It should be emphasised that it is not only the fault of staff or a matter of having a head count and laying people off to cut costs.
Employers behave extremely irresponsibly on this matter. The Irish Business and Employers Confederation is an apologist for the food industry which has raised prices to an unforgivable level. This should not be allowed and should be investigated. Employers also behave irresponsibly with regard to banks and credit cards and this is another area which should be examined. It contributes to the cost of living.
Semi-state bodies such as Bord Gais, the ESB and the VUI contribute to the increase in the cost base. We should debate this matter and not take the easy course and state the cost base is too high and too many people work. We should examine both sides and ask why the cost base is so high. Both sides of industry should come under scrutiny because it could be a serious matter for us.