SIPTU has outlined its key priorities for the development of full employment in its submission to the Government’s 2017 Action Plan for Jobs, which was presented to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, today (Friday, 7th October). SIPTU Vice President, Gene Mealy, said: “SIPTU representatives had a constructive meeting with the Minister and Ministers of State, Pat Breen. We share their aspiration to achieve full employment in the Irish labour market. However, the Government’s Action Plan cannot be about creating jobs at any price. The target must be to create quality jobs that pay decent wages. “The key to reaching full employment, and maintaining it, is to invest in workers and in businesses that will create jobs. This requires a major programme of investment in physical infrastructure and in developing the skills base of the workforce in order to increase the productive capacity of the Irish economy. It also depends on the creation of a comprehensive system of childcare to lift labour market participation.” He added: “Specifically, our submission calls for a doubling of existing capital investment over the next five years. It also demands that the Government use public procurement as an instrument for the creation of decent jobs. The submission proposes that ministers in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation should champion the inclusion of social clauses in public procurement contracts.” SIPTU Researcher, Marie Sherlock, said: “The Government should play a strong role in promoting decent wages and conditions of employment in the private sector. The failure of the hospitality industry to engage with the wage bargaining systems enshrined in law by the Government should mean that the preferential tax treatment of this sector, in the form of the reduced VAT rate, must end. “If the Government’s aspiration is truly to establish a Living Wage for workers, then the Minimum Wage should also be increased beyond the 10 cents recommended by the Low Pay Commission. There must also be a fairer deal for those entering the new apprenticeship system.” She added: “With the formal UK exit from the EU to begin in 2017, it is not in the interests of the State to retreat on plans to progress living standards or investment.”   SIPTU Submission to 2017 Action for Jobs