‘Jobbridge’ is a scam

Looking for work? Good news- courtesy of the government’s ‘Jobbridge’ scheme, there’s all kinds of full-time opportunities on offer. The Corner Bakery in Terenure is looking for a Bakery Assistant. The Landsdowne Hotel in Ballsbridge is looking for waiting staff. Axa Assistance is looking for a call centre worker in Athlone. You’ll even get an extra €50 euro a week.

€50 euro a week? Yes, these are ‘internships’ you see, so you won’t actually be paid, you’ll get an extra €50 euro social welfare to cover the costs of going to work. Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton explained  when the scheme was launched:

“The launch of 5,000 places in JobBridge by my Department will offer a real chance to many people to get six or nine months of critical work experience – a foot on the ladder after training, apprenticeship or graduation.”

In reality this scheme is a huge subsidy to business; allowing them to employ people for nothing in what are clearly normal jobs. The above examples are not aberrations; the Jobbridge website is littered with them and many examples can be found on the ‘Jobbridge to nowhere’ blog. Most notably, Tesco have placed an ad seeking 218 staff, covering the Christmas period!. Apparently these interns will need 6 months training, even normal staff training at Tesco lasts 2 weeks!

So instead of hiring extra staff at Christmas, the government is footing the bill  for Tesco, a company which reported 3.8 billion annual profits in February to get unpaid staff at public expense. This means that as part of the ‘Jobs Initiative’, the government is subsidising companies to not create jobs!

Jobbridge is a scam; it is exploiting the unemployed and undermining the pay and conditions of existing workers. While some people may see no option but to take up these internships; it offers no real hope to the 450,000 unemployed. It is the initiative of a government which is attacking the unemployed for their ‘lifestyle choice’ and trying to force people off social welfare on any basis. At the same time their commitment to Austerity is only making the crisis worse.

We need to demand real jobs, not slave labour schemes like ‘Jobbridge’. Relying on big business to create jobs has been a failure; look at the massive job cuts announced by profitable companies like TalkTalk. Instead we need massive state investment in job creation. This means public control over the huge wealth and resources currently in the hands of the super-rich and big business.