Jobs plan forces people into poverty pay rates, say protesters

Activists rally in central Dublin against JobBridge and Gateway work schemes

“The Government has used the ‘Youth Guarantee’ as a Trojan horse to make JobBridge compulsory, with the scandalous threat to cut the dole of those who refuse to go on JobBridge,” said Paul Murphy MEP (Socialist Party), founder of the ScamBridge campaign. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

“The Government has used the ‘Youth Guarantee’ as a Trojan horse to make JobBridge compulsory, with the scandalous threat to cut the dole of those who refuse to go on JobBridge,” said Paul Murphy MEP (Socialist Party), founder of the ScamBridge campaign. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

An estimated 100 people have taken part in a demonstration rally against the perceived increasing reliance by the Government on the JobBridge and Gateway schemes.

A number of organisations, including the youth wings of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) and Mandate, the Union of Students Ireland (USI) and the ScamBridge website, organised the march from the Central Bank to the social welfare office on Pearse Street.

In particular, it was focusing on the Implementation Plan for the Youth Guarantee through which protesters say the Government is intent on “slashing social welfare payments” for those who do not take up positions on such schemes.

The plan was launched last January by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton with the aim of providing young people under the age of 25 with “a good quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within a short time of becoming unemployed”.

However, today’s protest group said this would only seek to put a further emphasis on work schemes that offer placements in exchange for continued social welfare payments. The guarantee is to be implemented over the course of the next two years.

Critics say the plan will simply force people into working for rates “56 per cent below the risk of poverty rate in Ireland - or €3.75 per hour”.

“The Government has used the ‘Youth Guarantee’ as a Trojan horse to make JobBridge compulsory, with the scandalous threat to cut the dole of those who refuse to go on JobBridge,” said Paul Murphy MEP (Socialist Party), founder of the ScamBridge campaign.

“They have done the same with the Gateway scheme. Their guarantee if you are unemployed is a choice of poverty, emigration or forced labour. These schemes are at the heart of a process of the normalisation of working for free and undermining of wages and conditions for all,” he said.