Northern Ireland to 'lose 26,000 public sector jobs by 2017'

Person tapping jobcentre touch screen The unions claim that 26,000 public service posts will be lost in the next five years

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Northern Ireland will be the UK region hardest hit by public sector job cuts, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has claimed.

The ICTU called on the executive to take account of the "impending cull" in public sector jobs.

It said the executive must take firm action to defend the NI economy from the coalition government's plans.

The ICTU claim was based on a TUC analysis suggesting that 26,000 public sector jobs would go in NI by 2017.

ICTU assistant general secretary Peter Bunting said the draft Programme for Government pledged to promote 25,000 new jobs.

"This analysis proves the inadequacy of that modest ambition," he said.

"Even if achieved, the Programme for Government target will run 1,000 jobs short of the expected cull in public sector jobs.

"There are serious consequences from these policies. Thousands more jobs in the private sector would go if our fragile economy were to see so much demand sucked out of the market."

The TUC analysed regional unemployment figures and local public sector employment numbers to look at which parts of the UK would be hit the hardest by the 710,000 jobs set to go across the public sector.

While they admitted that it was not possible to say exactly where public sector jobs would be cut before 2017, the TUC calculated that Northern Ireland and the north-east of England would be the hardest-hit areas.

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