Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Won't somebody think about the jobs??!!!!

OK, so Quinn is looking wobbly and creating rising angst among the chattering classes. Most comments I have seen to date are of the "we have to support Quinn because of all the jobs the company provides".

If I was PR advisor to Sean Quinn himself, I couldn't think of a better approach to trying to secure a nice fresh wad of taxpayers' money in order to prop up my children's' inheritance.

While there is indeed a large number of people employed across the Quinn group of companies, the truth about the prospects for those employees is a little more prosaic than the general hysteria would suggest.

If the Quinn group does pass from administration and into receivership it is not the case that 5,000 jobs would be lost to the Irish economy. I think I have written about this before - in fact I have ( "Jobs"). Jobs are not things that get misplaced or dropped between the cushion of the sofa. They are the labour required to produce goods or services in the economy. The extent to which the Quinn group is providing goods and services to the economy means that the jobs have a place, they are required.

The salient point is that we are confronting the possibility that Quinn might go to the wall, not the demand for Quinn products and services vanishing.

In the worst case scenario that Quinn is placed into receivership, various elements of the business will have value and that includes the people turning the cogs. Sean Quinn and family will no longer own the operations, but what does that matter? Your and my taxes shouldn't be a source of billionaire welfare.

Now, parts of the business do look bit dodgy operationally. Those exposed to the construction sector for example. But those parts of the business will survive or fall regardless of ownership. Also, we might expect some sort of synergy if the group is broken up and sold off, but that will be a modest proportion of the total employment and would help deliver increased productivity and hence increased income for the country in time.

So let's, please, not fall into the trap of pouring taxpayers' money into "national champions". Quinn made some massive mistakes. If his empire flounders, the blame lies at his door. From the remains of the group activity will go on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would expect that the underbidders for the health insurers would still be interested in what became Quinn Healthcare.