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Statement from Work Must Pay Campaign May 23, 2016

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.


The struggle continues…

The Work Must Pay campaign notes the recent remarks of Minister of State
for Training and Skills, John Halligan TD and Minister of Social
Protection, Leo Varadkar, where both outline their commitments to ending
JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, launched by Joan Burton TD as
Minister of Social Protection in the previous Government.

The Work Must Pay campaign, a group of young political activists and trade
unionists which was launched in late 2014, welcomes the remarks. We have
little doubt, however, that huge forces will oppose their sentiments,
including IBEC, ISME and the State itself.

The purpose of JobBridge has been flagged consistently by others and the
Work Must Pay campaign in particular: to exploit valuable, talented young
people by making them work for a third of the minimum wage, that is, for
those under 23 years of age, €100 a week in Jobseekers’ Allowance plus a
€50 top-up from the Department of Social Protection for 40 hours’ work. The
employer does not hand over a cent. It is a form of modern indentured
labour, pure and simple.

Many will argue that JobBridge had or still has a use, to integrate young,
unskilled people into the labour market, etc. We would say that the
recently published data in the Sunday Business Post, which showed that the
scheme grew ten-fold over five years since its inception to an eye-watering
50,000 interns, puts paid to this mistaken view. If employers, be they
Google or the local hardware store, are offered the opportunity to hire
somebody at no expense, they will seize the opportunity. It was not
uncommon for PhD graduates to be sought under the scheme, for instance. The
State has been a rampant user of JobBridge, with the HSE and every
third-level institution in the country exploiting it numerous times, partly
due to the recruitment embargo in the public service.

The Work Must Pay campaign notes the growing opposition to the scheme among
trade unionists, politicians and the wider community, from the current USI
President to IMPACT, the largest public-sector union, which ran a motion
opposing JobBridge very recently. Many were appalled at the open abuses of
the scheme reported in the Irish Examiner recently, where full-time jobs
were clearly replaced by unpaid interns, with interns suffering verbal
abuse and mental health issues due to poor treatment by management and

The Work Must Pay campaign notes the outstanding success of our vocal,
noisy, effective protests placed outside numerous small businesses who have
in turn agreed to remove their JobBridge ads.

We call on Minister of Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, to abolish
JobBridge, as well as the recently-launched, insidious, “JobPath”
programme, modelled on JobBridge, but where private contractors will take
responsibility, and payment, for finding suitable private and State
companies willing to hire more unpaid interns. We demand legislation to
ensure that no employer can subvert the State’s minimum wage by lawful
means, including the abolition of all unpaid work schemes.

Refer to our Facebook page for information on our recent protests, and note
our petition calling for JobBridge abolition as well.

On behalf of the Work Must Pay campaign.

Our petition to be sent to the Minister for Social Protection calling for
immediate JobBridge abolition:



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