SIPTU has called for an immediate end to JobBridge, and similar “free labour schemes”, following media revelations that a report by auditors in the Department of Social Protection has found that its monitoring system is unable to ensure its operation is not resulting in job displacement.
SIPTU General President, Jack O’Connor, said: “The results of this report, which were revealed in the media today (Sunday, 21st August), concerning the operation of the JobBridge Scheme should end the debate about continuing such ‘free labour schemes’. They must all be wound up immediately.
“No one should be surprised about the results of this report which confirm mounting anecdotal evidence concerning these schemes and a possible link to job displacement as well as other abuses. There may have been an argument for such schemes when unemployment was running at double digits but thankfully that is no longer the case.”
He added: “The sad truth is that there is an unscrupulous element among employers that will exploit any opportunity to turn a quick buck. They will strive to do this irrespective of whatever safeguards or monitoring is put in place concerning these schemes. They have no scruples about exploiting workers, conning the taxpayer or competing unfairly with other businesses.
“The only way to combat such abuse is to wind up all these schemes as it can no longer be argued that they are in any way required. In the case of the public sector, where the Government has direct control, all those currently employed on such schemes should be offered direct employment given the country’s much improved economic circumstances.”