Laying off 20 staff members out of the 44 who work at the Rehab Recycle in Parkmore West Industrial Estate, Ballybrit, will have a “devastating effects” on both the employees and their families.
This is the view of Independent city councillor Catherine Connolly, following her visit to the centre on Tuesday.
She has criticised the management of the centre for claiming that the redundancies are because the work coming in from the private companies is “not sufficient” to enable the plant to keep going.
However Cllr Connolly said this explanation is “not acceptable”, given that the most recent annual report, signed off only in July 2011, shows that nationally Rehab operated with a higher surplus in 2010 than the previous year.
Rehab Recycle is in operation at this site since 1994 and many of the current 44 employees have worked there since that time.
Cllr Connolly also said the vast majority of these employees have special needs and are dependent on the employment environment provided by Rehab Recycle.
During her visit to the centre, Cllr Connolly spoke with a human resources representative who confirmed that she was in the process of meeting employees and/or their families to explain the selection process in relation to the proposed redundancies.
Cllr Connolly said the staff and their families are in a state of shock at the news and “simply do not know where to turn”. She also alleged “there is no evidence whatsoever” that management at Rehab have “looked at alternative ways of keeping the plant open” or have held discussions with FÁS which provides funding to Rehab Recycle under the wage supplement scheme, to see if funds could be increased.
Cllr Connolly also pointed out that if the redundancies go ahead the Government “will have to pick up the tab” in relation to Social Welfare repayments. As such the decision “makes absolutely no sense on an economic level”.
“It makes no sense on a human or psychological level that this very vulnerable population will be left not only utterly dependent on Social Welfare but without any sense of dignity, wellbeing or any creative outlet,” she said. “This is a truly shocking decision and the local Government TDs must call on the Government and FÁS to intervene to stop this madness.”