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A ‘labour activation’ measure? It is like f… November 27, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in The Left.

As reported in the Irish Times this morning:

The Irish Times understands that the Government is under pressure from the EU-IMF-ECB troika to reduce the duration for which the means-tested jobseeker’s benefit is paid.


At present the payment – worth up to €188 a week – is paid for up to 12 months to people who are out of work and covered by social insurance. However, this would be reduced to nine months under proposals to be considered by the Cabinet


As a result, those on the benefit would face moving on to means-tested jobseeker’s payments much earlier. This would see thousands of people receiving lower rates. The move is aimed at encouraging people to seek work, or what policymakers call a “labour activation measure”.

Let us contextualise a bit with the information by way of Michael Taft’s thoughts on the issue of unemployment here where he notes:

Even the Government admits their policies are having little effect on job creation. They expect unemployment to remain at 13 percent by 2015, a fall of only one percentage point since they took office. The number of people at work will only grow by 12,000 over the lifetime of this Government.


1. sonofstan - November 27, 2012

First quote should read ‘non-means tested Jobseekers Benefit’ shouldn’t it?


anarchaeologist - November 27, 2012

That was the first thing I read this morning and it points to sloppy writing or subbing or perhaps both. In any event it’s quite indicative of a paper with little appreciation of what the majority of people in this country are going through. The ‘paper of record’. Yeah.


sonofstan - November 27, 2012

I was going to pull them up on a possible misplaced apostrophe as well, but the DSP seems unsure itself in its own literature as to whether it is a benefit paid to a single jobseeker (thus ‘Jobseeker’s Benefit’) or to many such (‘Jobseekers’ Benefit’) and most of the time simply drops the apostrophe entirely. The department does consistently capitalise it though, unlike the IT.


2. greengoddess2 - November 27, 2012

I warned about this. If this goes on the safety net may be removed completely .


CL - November 27, 2012

Since capitalism is based on the commodification of labour those in the reserve army of the unemployed must be forced to take any job at whatever wage ‘the market’ decrees. To protect those without property from this brutality a social democratic movement arose. The role of the Labour party has degenerated into removing whatever social democratic protections remain so that a failed, untrammelled capitalism can continue to (mal)function.


3. LeftAtTheCross - November 27, 2012

Sort of related to labour activation, but did anyone hear the interview on RTE Drivetime with the Irish woman living in Greece? She describes an acquaintance of hers, college educated, who was desperate for work and took a job in a kebab shop, paid €20 under the table for 8-10hrs per day, who gave up that job because she was so tired that she hadn’t the energy to send of CVs for ‘proper’ jobs, and who now wonders if she did the right thing because that €20 is money she now doesn’t have.

Disclaimer: I know the woman being interviewed and it’s revealing to hear her describe her switch in support to SYRIZA as a case of “how much worse can it get if Greece drops out of the Euro”. Her Greek husband is a public service worker, traditionally a PASOK voter but he and his family have all switched to SYRIZA. I haven’t spoken to her myself in years but when she was living in Dublin she was fairly apolitical, a GP voter, Irish Times reader, south Dublin professional set, not the sort of person one would expect to be leaning towards the further Left. A good example of how material circumstances change outlooks.


fergal - November 27, 2012

hi LATC,in a similar vein but far closer to home I know a sous chef,currently unemployed who got a night’s work in a restaurant in Dublin;6 hours work for 30 euros


LeftAtTheCross - November 27, 2012

Fergal, pretty shot wages alright, but desperate people will take what’s on offer, up to a point. We also shouldn’t overlook the thousands of people in Jobsbridge who are giving 40hrs of their time for private profit at a cost of €50 per week, paid from the public purse.


fergal - November 27, 2012

LATC-that Jobbridge is a pure scam. But as Enda puts it “Ireland Inc. is open for business” or if you prefer(Enda again)”I want to make this the best country in the world in which to do business”


4. RosencrantzisDead - November 27, 2012

I am a little skeptical of this announcement. Firstly, it does seem monumentally stupid to cut jobseekers’ benefit when there is mass unemployment and job creation is stagnant. Of course, a policy being monumentally stupid does not negative its existence (I tend to find the opposite – more stupid means more likely to be found in a manifesto or a report somewhere).

This could be a controlled leak designed to lower expectations for the forthcoming budget. Thus, when things like this do not come to pass, a feeling of gratefulness and goodwill towards the government is engendered.


CMK - November 27, 2012

Jaysis, I think this is the fifth year in a row where the Pavlov’s Dog trick has been used of signalling ferocity in one or other area of expenditure; then to relent in the budget itself, allowing Ministers to collect kudos in mid-December for their forebearance, alertness and responsiveness to the potential suffering which might follow X or Y. And still people fall for it. Year after year. I think it’s more designed to ensure some good media coverage post-budget to muddy the waters and to provide covering fire for the more outrageous cuts. Still, from the government and civil service’s perspective, if it’s not broken why fix it. A depressing indictment that political awareness remains very low despite our fifth year of economic crisis.


Rot Peter der Affe - November 27, 2012

Kenny to Gilmore “…and of course you’ll get your usual ‘it could have been worse but for us’ figleaf”.

Actually it serves both purposes – before the budget it’s yet another “the ferry / airport is that way – you know what to do…” signal.


5. Allan Rouge - November 27, 2012

Here’s a link to an IMF press release on a conference in Iceland from last year – there should be links to the speeches; I’m on a phone here and can’t really see things properly. The welfare state there was preserved which benefited the economy as well as helping reduce income inequality. I’m not sure if anything has changed since though.



Rot Peter der Affe - November 27, 2012

Yep – the IMF seems to like Iceland for the moment:

Unlike the US and several countries in the eurozone, Iceland allowed its banking system to fail in the global economic downturn and put the burden on the industry’s creditors rather than taxpayers.
In the following years, the Icelandic government made drastic cuts that reduced the fiscal deficit from 14 percent of GDP to just two percent. At the same time, unemployment in Iceland has shrunk to less than five percent, while analysts predict the North Atlantic economy to grow some 2.8 percent by the end of 2012, according to recent reports.
The rebound continues to wow officials, including International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, who recently referred to the Icelandic recovery as “impressive”. And experts continue to reiterate that European officials should look to Iceland for lessons regarding austerity measures and similar issues.
The Financial Times outlined a number of important points for countries in the eurozone to consider in an article published on Monday. These include Iceland’s tactic of pursing “politics of social and economic inclusion”. This includes heavier taxes on the higher brackets while cutting welfare schemes less than other areas of the budget to retain the purchasing power of lower income groups.

As Yannis Varoufakis has recently noted, the policy split between the IMF, along with growing militancy in the ‘periphery’ – outside of Ireland, natch – is one of the rare sources of hope for Europe.


Rot Peter der Affe - November 27, 2012

that should have been “split between the IMF and the EU” – temporarily papered over till after the German Bundeselections.


6. que - November 27, 2012

the logical conclusion to the argument that sure emigrating is a jape for a few years line taken before


7. gfmurphy101 - November 27, 2012

Reblogged this on gfmurphy101 and commented:
Excellent stuff from the CLR guys


8. Hey! Look, they skew the benefit/work debate in the US too! | The Cedar Lounge Revolution - August 27, 2013

[…] Perhaps worth remembering all this when we are next subjected to rhetoric from the government and Troika on ‘redesigning’ welfare or ‘labour activation measures’. […]


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