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Jobseekers ‘demanding cash’ to supplement their PUP

September 10th, 2021 7:05 AM

By Jackie Keogh

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WITH demand for staff at an all-time high, some jobseekers are making demands that employers cannot meet.

Business people in the service industry explained to The Southern Star the difficulties they are experiencing in hiring staff, and how some are asking to be paid in cash to supplement the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP).

‘We have used every advertising platform possible and the reality is that we are getting zero responses,’ said one supermarket owner.

‘We have resorted to approaching people who we know might be available,’ he added.

‘This is not just in the hospitality sector, every industry is affected. You can’t get truck drivers, for example. Every sector is down.’

Although his business has enough staff at present, he said the situation could turn on a dime.

 

Staff shortages mean he is now working a 70-hour week because when numbers are down he has to physically step in and take up the slack.

‘Walk down any street and you’ll see the help wanted posters on shop windows, and the job recruitment sites are full of vacancies,’ said the businessman, who says he is baffled as to ‘where all the workers have gone.’

It has been reported that this week there are 150,000 currently in receipt of the PUP, yet the arts and entertainment – which accounts for 35,000 people – are the only sectors that have not fully reopened, leaving 126,000 people in receipt of the payment.

‘It’s a very strange situation,’ he added. ‘There are a lot of factors coming together. PUP is a factor, as is the lack of foreign workers travelling to Ireland for employment.

Businesses like The Parkway in Dunmanway and Myrtleville’s Bunnyconnellan have already had to cut back on opening hours due to staff shortages.

‘The three or four weeks – when the PUP eases off – should tell a lot,’ said the businessman, who is hoping the situation will improve.

‘The truth is,’ he added, ‘we don’t know where we are going to be in a couple of weeks because we can’t predict the level of business.

‘But right now, there are doors closed throughout West Cork, fine restaurants in superb locations, but they just can’t find the staff they need to run their business.’

The man, who employs 50-plus people – 20% of whom would have been third level students – confirmed he had, for the first time in years, no third level students applying for work.

Meanwhile, other workers indicated they would take up a job offer provided they were paid in cash, presumably to boost their PUP payment.

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