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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Local General Election Candidates

Dell Redundant Workers Association would like to express it's grateful thanks to those TDs in the Mid-West are who have supported us and you the members in our endeavours to ensure that the EGF Fund could be utilised to it's maximum effect.

We feel that in return for their support you might consider keeping them in mind when you cast your vote in the upcoming Election.

Alan Kelly MEP, Labour Party (Candidate for Tipperary North) Jobs remains The Big Issue

Jan O Sullivan TD, Labour Party (Candidate for East Limerick)Labour Women: 10 reasons to vote Labour

Michael Noonan TD, Fine Gael (Candidate for East Limerick)
FG Plan For ‘Jobs Creation Bill’ in First 100 Days if Elected to Govt

Kieran O'Donnell TD, Fine Gael (Candidate for East Limerick) Kieran’s Message

Willie O'Dea TD, Fine Fail (Candidate for East Limerick) Working for A Better Future
Cllr Maurice Quinlivan, Sinn Fein (Candidate for East Limerick) Sinn Féin 10-Point Jobs Plan

Urgent Notice:
Computer Technician Required by Quicktec - Ballybrit, Galway

The Job:
The Job involves the configuration of hardware and software products for our SME customers in the West of Ireland. On-going support will involve the provision of Technical Services (via telephone, remote access, email, etc) to ensure clients’ Service Levels Agreements are maintained.
The Person:
Excellent knowledge of all Microsoft MS Windows systems and Networks, with configuration, support and installation experience. Ideally 2 or more years working in an appropriate role would be desirable.
The candidate should be very familiar with:
  • Server & Workstation Hardware.
  • Microsoft Operating Systems, including Server and Exchange.
  • Broadband/VPNs, Firewalls, Security.
  • Microsoft Certification is desirable.
A team worker, with good customer focus. Ideally suited to a candidate who wishes to further their career in the I.T.
Excellent troubleshooting and problem solving skills are essential.
Follow the link:Computer Technician Ballybrit, Galway. Mention Dell Redundant Workers Associatioon

Friday, February 18, 2011

Government Agrees To Fund Academic Year 2011/2012

After representations it has been confirmed that the Government has agreed to extend support to funding to students for academic year 2011/2012.  

Earlier this week we were contacted by the office of Willie O'Dea to inform us that he had met with Minster Coughlan on our behalf and that there would be a ministerial review of the situation with a decision to follow(today) on the subject of the course fees for academic year 2011/12.

This is the text of the letter received by Willie which he forwarded to us earlier today. A scan of the actual letter is inserted below text.

Willie O'Dea
2 Glenview Gardens

17 Feb 2011

Dear Willie

As you will be aware under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF),
the timeframe for allowable expenditure is two years from the date of the
submission of the relevant EGF application. In this context in the case of the
Dell EGF programme, the expiry date is 28 June 2011.

Representations have been received by the department making a case for the
extension of this period by one academic year i.e. to June 2012 in order to
allow a limited number of EGF clients on higher education programmes who
understood that the academic year 2011/2012 was included in the EGF
programme and who embarked on third level courses in either public and
private colleges on this basis.

I have reviewed this situation and I have decided that my Department will fund
the costs incurred in terms of tuition costs, student charges and course fees, as
appropriate, for the academic year 2011 - 2012 through national funding

I would stress however, that this decision to extend support to the Dell
students for 2011/12 academic year is solely on the basis of understandings
(based on an incorrect interpretation of the rules governing the Fund) that
support for this academic year fell within the scope of the Fund. These
concessionary arrangements will not extend beyond the academic year
2011/2012 regardless of the duration of the programmes involved. Students on
programmes of longer duration may be eligible for support in accordance with
the regulation governing the operation of the Department's Free Fees and
student support schemes dependent on their individual circumstances.

Funding for the 2011/2012 academic year is not being financed with the support
of the EGF, is of strictly limited duration and applies only to a defined number
of persons who are have already commenced programmes that are being
funded up to 20th June 2011 under the EGF programme.

The Higher Education Authority will communicate this decision and the
necessary funding arrangements to give effect to it to the relevant publicly
funded higher education institutions.

FÁS, which is grant aiding the relevant private college costs of Dell EGF
programme students up to a stipulated maximum figure, will duly notify the
colleges of the necessary funding arrangements to give effect to this decision
and the attendant requirements and criteria for same.

Yours sincerely

Mary Coughlan
Tánaiste & Minister for Education & Skills 


EGF Funding For Academic year 2011-2012- Possible good News


The Dell Redundant Workers Association Chairman Paul O'Connor Received Confirmation this morning( Friday 18th Feb )  From Wiilie O'Dea  TD that the government (Department of Education and Skills) will today make an announcement that all public and private 3rd Level College courses for Academic year 2011-2012 will be funded by EGF funds for those pupils currently enrolled in same ..

Lets hope for  once the government stick to their promises ..

Link to the RTÉ segment on us last night.

From the 9 o'clock news yesterday the 17th of Feb.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dell RWA Update

We have been contacted by RTE they want to do a piece on the EGF for the news and are looking to do interviews in Limerick early next week. If you would like to take this opportunity to air your views then please let us know and we can make arrangements. The issues we are focusing on are; Omitted companies, 3rd level funding beyond June, Travel allowances, 3000 Fetac Limit on egf training grant and Issues with FAS courses, schemes and internships. Of course these are just what we feel we should highlight you may have separate issues that you would like to raise.

We would like to go into some detail on the the omitted companies and course fees beyond 2011 as both of these are key problems with the way the fund was implemented and

On the omitted companies;

It is a European requirement the all the affected companies be listed on the application and it was the States responsibility to ensure that the information on the application was correct. In Europe the decision to accept an application is made by vote so they are not willing to allow any alterations to the terms set out in an application.
Locally we are unclear how the list of 9 companies was drafted. What we are aware of is that it was a rushed job as the process of getting an application ready started approximately 3 weeks before it was submitted. Alan Kelly(MEP) was largely responsible for getting the Gov to apply for the fund so he is aware ho long it took to get them to apply.
We have also been told that it was the companies responsibility to contact the department to get on that list (we consider this to be unconfirmed) but we have spoke with management in some of the companies who were not aware of the application process so either the communication was botched or it didn't exist.
There are further groups of workers such as the Dell staff in Dublin and the Alienware staff in Athlone who are ineligible for funding even though they worked directly for a listed company(in this case Dell) because the application was made for staff in the Mid-West region of Ireland again this is down to the application being deeply flawed.

Early this year when we were first working on this our focus was on getting companies added to the list in April-May we were told that they would agree to 5 additions to the list and work would be ongoing to get all the companies added to the list. This was being handled through the DETI and there was a problem with this as they didn't check to see if they were allowed to add companies to the list. So in early July the decision to add companies was reversed and it reverted back to the original 9 we have been unable to make progress on this since.

The current situation is that there are hundreds of people who should have been eligible for assistance who were under the impression that there would be some help available to them after they were made redundant and all those people have been let down and there has been very little that we have been able to do for them. There are people who worked for the 5 companies that were (mistakenly) added who were accepted onto courses in the brief window they had we believe that they will not be expected to pay the cost of that mistake but it will not be EGF monies that pay for anything provided these individuals. There is also at least one case of a worker outside the Midwest being confirmed as eligible for the funding then starting a course only to be left with a bill after it turns out there was a mistake and he/she isn't eligible.

On Course Fees beyond June;

A year ago it was the general understanding among the authorities whom we were in touch with that (a) the fund would be closing in Sept of this year and that (b) courses for the year 2011-2012 would be paid for if the fund was billed before it was closed infact long term 3rd level courses were one of the main areas of the Irish application to the fund.
Both of those turned out to be incorrect but it was not made clear to anyone until much later into the running of the fund that this was going to be a problem. Official instruction was not issued to the public colleges until the 10th of Dec 2010 when the HEA issued them an update telling them 2011/12 was no longer available under the fund.

The fund was applied for in June of 2009 but as well all know nothing really started happening until Feb/March of 2010 when the coordination office was setup in the granary building in Limerick, in the case where a state(Ireland) takes longer than expected to get measures in place then the 24 month clock on the fund may be started from date when measures start and not when the application is made. This extension cannot exceed 3 months. This was not applied for as we were either too late being outside the 3 months or things were deemed to be running from that date. People who started courses in 2009 were able to claim reimbursement in 2010 meaning that the fund was infact running from the date it was supposed to be in June of 09.

The regulation which this was derived from is the following:
The Member State(s) shall carry out all eligible actions included in the coordinated package of personalised services as soon as possible, but not later than 24 months after the date of application pursuant to Article 5, or after the date of commencement of these measures provided that the latter date falls no later than three months after the date of application.

Current situation: People have signed up for courses and were never told that they would only be funded up to June 2011 because the authorities had it wrong. We are all but certain that the EGF will not fund any course beyond 2011 but we may be able to get the State to provide some help. It is worth remembering that 35% of the money in the fund originated from the Irish state and if the money in the fund is not spent then all of it wont be going to Brussels. 35% will be returning to Dublin and given the current spend figures it might well be enough to fund continuing education but it is something that the Next Government will have to agree to do.

Best Regards

Dell Redundant Workers Association

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kieran O'Donnell on Course funding beyond June

Press Release from Kieran O'Donnell TD on 086 8430202                 8/2/2011

O’Donnell Calls for Funding to be Provided for Redundant Dell Workers to Complete Courses.

- Up to 200 students may be forced to drop out of college while more than €10 million in unspent EGF monies may be returned to Brussels

Kieran O’Donnell TD, Fine Gael Spokesman on Enterprise & Employment and TD for Limerick City has today called for an immediate review the rules of the Dell European Globalisation Fund to prevent hundreds of students who are currently in receipt of financial support from the fund from dropping out of education when the fund expires in June. 

“It is now expected that around €10 million of the €22.8 million fund may be left unspent and returned to Brussels. 

“Despite this, around 200 students currently in receipt of Dell EGF funding to pursue 3rd level studies are being told they are set to lose their funding once the fund ceases next June. 

“Its really crazy stuff.  I have written to Tanaiste Mary Coughlan requesting that a review of the rules of the EGF be commenced without delay with a view to providing funding for these people.

“Those who started courses with EGF support had a reasonable expectation that they would be supported to see out their studies.

“The reality instead though is that people who will have completed the first year of their studies will be left without funding to complete their second and third years, while a vast amount of EGF retraining money goes unspent.

“These are unemployed people who are trying to upskill and retrain.  They would not have made the commitment to go back to education if they knew they would be left high and dry after one year. 

“There must be a major review of the operation of the Dell EGF immediately in order to make sure these people are not forced to drop out of college.

“The cost of these people returning to the dole queues is simply not justifiable when they are willing and able to educate themselves to a high level and hopefully secure gainful employment with their new skills.

“I am determined in government to secure an immediate review of the Dell EGF so that these people are not forced back on the dole queues.  It is very important that these people have the certainty to complete their studies and ultimately move back into gainful employment. 


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We had a comment recently which queried/warned that the time for accessing funds through the enterprise board might be much sorter than expected due to the time needed to process claims.

 In response to our query Ned Twomey (Manager County Enterprise Board) responded with the following;

You are correct Ger June the 28th is the final day for activity. I am awaiting instructions from the Department on whether cheques can be written after the 28th or not. This will decide when the last invoices can be received. The worst case would be the 14th of June.

In relation to application for funding for business, I would suggest that applications should be received by the end of March

So for those of you already who have already begun the process aim to have as much done as possible before mid June. If any of you have not yet approached your Enterprise Board but are planning on doing so time is growing short and you should move with your idea as soon as possible.