The Work Must Pay campaign, on the 13th of March, carried out a protest at the Department of Jobs against the ongoing use of JobBridge and the exploitation of young workers.
The protest was attended by members of the Connolly Youth Movement, Sinn Féin Republican Youth, Unite Youth – Dublin, CWU Youth, We’re Not Leaving and many other young people who wished to express their anger at the continued government policy of using young unemployed people as a source of free labour.
Speaking at the protest, Eoghan O’Neill of Connolly Youth Movement said:
“Work Must Pay is about working people, whether they are employed, unemployed or currently studying, standing together in solidarity with those who are being exploited.
“We fundamentally want to see an end to Jobbridge and every other free labour scheme.
“Our shared campaign has often come under criticism from small and medium sized businesses arguing that we should be targeting large companies and not ‘poor old me, just trying to grow a little in this hostile economic environment.’
“Any business that uses Jobbridge is exploiting a worker
“We need to bring back our militancy and fight to the working people, their communities and their trade unions and take on businesses that profits from making others suffer.
“So exploiters beware – We are coming for you!”
Seán Ó Sé of Sinn Féin Republican Youth said:
“An Indecon report found that 30% of employers said that they would create a job if JobBridge did not exist; that is under-employment.
“It does not take six to nine months to learn how to stack shelves; nor does it take nine months to learn how to pick potatoes in Donegal.
“We must demand that the government scraps the JobBridge scheme and reverts to creating apprenticeships and appropriate internships.
“We must ensure that in-work training and in-education training become the norm rather than JobBridge.
“Internships are not jobs yet the government try to claim as such.
“Employers have a pool of free labour that has been created by the Government, the Labour Party in particular.
Jonathan Arlow of Unite Youth Dublin said:
“As predicted by those of us on the Left, the JobBridge scheme has distorted the labour market to such an extent that there is a growing lack of entry level positions in our economy.
“With many employers using JobBridge to replace what used to be fully paid entry level positions on short term contracts. Or, at best, using it as a 6 to 9 month long state subsidised interview process.
“Our labour market is increasingly resembling the Unites States, where working for free or little pay as an intern is an essential part of a modern curriculum vitae.
“JobBridge is part of this creeping spread of neoliberal values, which devalues the dignity of both work and those unable to find work.
“It is not just morally wrong but wrong in its conception, design and implementation.
“So become part of the resistance to this injustice by joining the work must pay campaign.”