The latest Live Register figures from the CSO for December showed a fall of 3,300 signing on, making it the 18th consecutive month where a fall has been recorded. The unemployment rate currently stands at 12.4%.
In 2013, there were 58,000 new jobs created in the economy, however a portion of this was represented by unemployed workers becoming self-employed. While the majority of other jobs were created in agriculture and the tourism sector. The sustainability of jobs in the tourism sector are highly questionable because of the increase in tourism recorded last year due to “The Gathering”.
The number of under-25s on the Live Register dropped by 11.6%, recording a continuous monthly decrease since July 2010. The obvious reason for this is the massive rise in emigration in that period. 75% of the people who have emigrated were under 25.
The other obvious cause for this is the increase in work and training placement schemes which now have over 85,000 people on them. This includes over 6,000 people taking part in slave labour scheme JobBridge.
There is anecdotal evidence that the government have begun to try to force more and more people onto JobBridge. The ScamBridge campaign has been contacted by people who have been told in Social Welfare offices that if they don’t take up an internship they may have their dole cut.
How to Fight it!
Schemes like JobBridge and Gateway need to be fought and defeated to defend the unemployed against exploitation but also to defend the wages and working conditions of all workers.
Over the next few weeks the ScamBridge Campaign, which was initiated by Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy, will intensify its campaign against companies who use this free labour scheme.
Employers who use this scheme will be publicly named and shamed, and a militant campaign of pickets and protests will be launched against the companies. It is only through an attack on their profits that employers will be forced to stop abusing this state-sponsored free labour scheme.