SIPTU and Fórsa representatives will attend a meeting with the Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection today (Wednesday, 29th September) to discuss the growing crisis in local employment services and jobs clubs. It is expected that union representatives, including SIPTU Deputy General Secretary for the Public Service, John King, will outline several contributing factors to the crisis, its concerns over the tendering process and the lack of a genuine stakeholders forum.  SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “It is our strong belief that the tendering process undertaken by the Department of Social Protection is deeply flawed, will ultimately lead to an inferior service being provided and will result in significant job losses for our members. This cannot be allowed to happen.” “Union representatives have proposed a stakeholder forum that includes community organisations, service users, elected representatives, workers’ representatives and academics as a fair and inclusive way forward. We believe that a forum is essential for building a real consensus around the future provision of public employment services. We do not believe that marketisation of these essential social services works or enjoys popular support. We will be calling on the members of the committee to support our campaign to halt the tendering process and to allow a full and wider debate about the future provision of these services with workers’ welfare at its heart.” Fórsa Assistant General Secretary Lynn Coffey, said: “We’re seeking a pause to be put on the proposed tendering process. Experience shows that turning these services, and the people who need them, into a profit-driving commodity is simply unworkable. Our message to the committee today is to put the service users first, particularly at a time when the pandemic has inflicted so much damage on the labour market. We’re asking the Department to engage in meaningful and inclusive engagement with representatives from the service providers, the service users, employee representatives and academics and to take an approach that is consistent with achieving the maximum social benefit.”