Friday, April 17, 2009

3700 ESB Jobs

The ESB has announced that it plans to create 3700 jobs. It's a good news story that has quotes from the Taoiseach, the Energy Minister and the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. I imagine every other government TD and Minister will have a press release of some kind or other welcoming the announcement and taking some credit for new jobs coming to their locality.

My question is this, while all new jobs are welcome do we really want the big job announcements of the "smart economy" coming from existing semi-state companies? Work policies and union vetoes in semi-state companies seem to result in every decision, new technology or green idea being delayed and costing more than it should. Why not take the opportunity to spin off new smart economy companies in which the government holds a majority stake but without the dead weight of employment agreements, benchmarking and programs for prosperity from another era. This would allow the companies to quickly respond to changes in the market place, bring new technologies to customers and depend on innovation and quality to win customers instead of government monopolies. If and when those companies become a success the government could then easily sell their stake in those companies and re-coop the taxpayer investment.

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