Government policies have left workers with less job security

Data from 19 EU states shows protections for workers weakened or removed

Government policies pursued in Ireland and across the EU during the financial crisis have left workers with less job security, academics warn in a paper published today.

Data from 19 EU states shows that governments have weakened or removed protections for workers, to make employment more flexible, but have not increased support to help people get back into employment.

One of the authors, Prof Jason Heyes of the University of Sheffield in the UK, says .

"Across European Union states it has become easier to lay off workers, adult training and education provision is declining, and social security systems are being restructured with greater conditionality and 'workfare' approaches to benefit entitlements," he says.

The report by Prof Heyes and associate Dr Thomas Hastings says the introduction of "workfare" type schemes, such as Jobbridge and Gateway, has increased the conditions attached to some welfare benefits. They also say that neither the Republic nor the UK has invested considerably in labour market programmes such as lifelong learning.

However, they acknowledge that the number of unemployed people going back to education increased slightly from 7.8 per cent in 2006 to 10.77 per cent in 2013.

Dr Hastings said: "Austerity economic policies are being prioritised over social policies, and this is seen most clearly in the southern states of Spain, Portugal and Greece where the Troika has demanded strict reforms."