In recent weeks and under much fanfare the government has launched a new scheme to create 5,000 internships by pairing applicants with a large number of participating companies, including KPMG, Tesco, Aer Lingus, Glanbia, Quinn Group Ltd, HP, ESB, Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Bord na Móna.
The scheme has attracted these companies not by a moral obligation but quite simply because its free. These companies have no obligation to pay a single cent to the worker, even after Tesco announced huge profits. Instead, the government has laid aside €57 million for this year and the following two years, so yet again the bill is footed by the already struggling tax payer. In reality, the government are facilitating Irelands’ own type slave labour while sparing no expense to provide these mega rich companies with exploitable labour.
Successful applicants will gain unpaid full time employment for a period of between 6-9 months, after which time there is no obligation on the company to provide a fulltime position. During this time, an intern will receive an allowance of €50 weekly from the Department of Social Protection on top of existing social welfare payments. For example, if you are getting the maximum €188 per week on standard jobseekers allowance it will become €238 per week. However if you consider that the length of a full time work week is between 30 -40 hours long, this means that per hour of fulltime work, a “successful” applicant will receive roughly €6.10 per hour, a full €2.55 below the minimum wage!
Instead of accepting these “work for your dole” schemes, young people and the unemployed must get organised to demand real jobs on decent pay.