Sunday 18 March 2018

EU aid for SR Technics workers

Sarah Collins in Brussels

The EU is to donate €7.4m to help retrain 850 former SR Technics workers made redundant when the aircraft maintenance firm closed down its Dublin Airport operations early last year.

The Government is obliged to contribute an extra €4.1m to the pot, which can also be used to fund third-level college places for former employees.

The money has strict conditions attached. It can only be used for further education, training and job placements, or as start-up capital for budding entrepreneurs, and must be spent within two years of the application being made.

The Irish application -- which originally related to 1,135 workers -- was sent to Brussels almost a year ago, but was held up after the EU executive requested further details from the Government.

The money comes from the European globalisation fund, a €500m-a-year kitty set up in 2007 to compensate workers let go as a result of their employers relocating outside the bloc in search of cheaper labour.

The European Commission says that SR Technics' loss of business with Aer Lingus and Gulf Air was a major factor in the factory closure, and was a direct result of those airlines slashing maintenance and repair costs during the crisis.

The SR Technics fund -- which will need to be approved by European parliamentarians and EU ministers before it can be paid out -- marks the third such grant received by Irish workers.

A total of 598 former Waterford Crystal workers were granted €4m earlier this year, while a €22.8m fund was given to 2,400 ex-Dell employees when a local plant in Raheen, Co Limerick, closed down and moved to Poland.

Irish Independent

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