Thursday, January 8, 2009

So to no-one's real surprise computer maker Dell announce that they will be firing 1,900 workers from their Limerick plant.

Fired not downsized, outsourced, laid off, migrated, cut, transferred, offshored, consolidated or any other linguistic distortion.

This is a complete disaster for the City. Dell itself is the country's biggest employer and adds about 5% to the states GDP. Those clever people in Economicsland reckon that every one job in Dell supports another four jobs in the area.

Somewhere between 6,000 - 10,000 jobs will be lost in the City over the next 12 months as the firings progress. This in a city and suburbs with a population of only 97,000. The equivalent impact would be like Dublin losing up to 100,000 jobs.

I was listening to Radio 1's Drivetime and as a guest they had on Dr Ed Walsh from the University of Limerick. Now I don't really know much about Eddy, from time to time he appears on TV and seems a tad pompous.

Pompous in itself is harmelss enough and this man is an actual rocket scientist who holds four honorory doctorates as well as a gilt edged CV.

Despite this it seems that Eddy's ego has got the better of him and has succumbed to that irritating habit of the American right where you simplify complex problems to force a ideological point.

In the interview Dr Walsh claimed that Dell moved to Poland as "our public service is too bloated" that "public servants need to take a 30% cut", that it was wrong that "a waitress in Dublin gets 20% higher wage than one in Copenhagen".

The interview exposed a couple of things about Walsh; one a complete ignorance of what caused wages to increase to the point that we priced ourselves out of the labour market and secondly a twisted understanding the effect that globalisation has had on manufacturing trends.

Given that Poland's average weekly wage is less than €180 a week what does Walsh recomneded - that we drive wages down to a level to compete with the Poles?

Here is a man with multiple degrees and qualifications coming out of his ears and he blames the massive loss of jobs on the fact that Tracey in Dublin gets paid 1 euro more an hour than Trina from Copenhagen.

Walsh is obviously bright but from reviewing some of his TV appearances it appears that he has reduced himself to blurting obnoxious statements in order to maintain a public profile.


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