Opening Bell: Chopped jobs, vacancies rise, protecting Ireland's competitiveness

Get up to speed with today's breaking business news...

Healthy food chain Chopped has announced plans to create 430 jobs in Ireland and the UK.

The company is doubling its footprint in this country with the opening of 20 new outlets and expanding into the UK for the first time, with 6 branches set to open there by the middle of the year.

320 full and part time jobs will come on stream in Ireland as the company plans to open new outlets in Wicklow, Cork, Waterford, and Dublin in 2017.

______________________________________________________

There was a 4% monthly increase in professional job vacancies nationally in March, according to the Morgan McKinley Irish Employment Monitor.

However, the total number of professional jobs listed was 10% less than March 2016.

There were 8% fewer people looking for jobs last month, compared to February. That figure was 22% less than the same month last year.

______________________________________________________

The National Competitiveness Council has warned that, "Brexit poses a serious and imminent threat to Ireland’s economic prosperity."

It notes that the economy faces two main challenges as it becomes harder to sell Irish goods in the UK as sterling's fall makes them relatively more expensive and Ireland will also face new challenges as it competes with the UK to attract foreign firms.

It believes that, "Brexit is likely to affect UK competitiveness through increases in the cost of trade, declining growth and investment, loss of market size and reduced ability to attract and retain talent."

It recommends five Government actions ahead of the UK's exit:

  • Ensure our fiscal position remains sustainable while not narrowing the tax base
  • Greater capital investment 
  • Establishing a more diverse export base to reduce exposure to external demand shocks
  • Giving greater resources to third level institutions
  • A greater emphasis on facilitating start-ups (particularly those with the potential to scale and internationalise) and supporting high-potential growth companies with scaling opportunities

______________________________________________________

It's day 20 of the Bus Eireann strike with thousands of commuters still facing travel chaos.

A Labour Court hearing into the dispute over cost cutting measures will resume this morning.

Unions say they want the Court to look at the issues of rostering changes and consolidated pay - saying they constitute major changes which require some type of reasonable salary.