24/08/2016

SIPTU Joins Calls For 'Immediate End' Of Free Labour Schemes

So-called 'free labour schemes' must be scrapped, SIPTU has said.

The union joined calls for schemes such as JobBridge to come to an "immediate end" following media reports that auditors in the Department of Social Protection found its monitoring system is unable to ensure its operation is not resulting in job displacement.

Making the call, SIPTU General President, Jack O'Connor, said: "The results of this report 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."

Mr O'Connor said that it was a "sad truth" that there was 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 union president added.

"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."

(MH/CD)

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