Council urged to boycott JobBridge
A SOCIALIST Party councillor has called on the council not to co-operate with Government job placement schemes like JobBridge and Gateway which she said 'condemn people to poverty incomes'.
Cllr Ruth Coppinger (SP) condemned both schemes saying they 'coerced' people into jobs that effectively pay '€1 an hour'.
There are some 34 people working in the council on JobBridge and Gateway schemes and Cllr. Coppinger said that instead of using these schemes, the council should be encouraging the 'creation of real jobs with proper rates of pay'.
While acknowledging the schemes did not work for everyone, Cllr. Tom Kelleher (Lab) defended the practice and said: 'We can sit down and do absolutely nothing in the situation we are in or we can try to provide some kind of training or employment for people who are out of work.'
Cllr. Anthony Lavin (FG) said that nobody was 'forced' onto the schemes and that a large percentage of those who participated, subsequently have gained full-time employment.
Cllr. Eugene Coppinger (SP) said the schemes were a way of 'falsifying the jobless figures' and were 'not real jobs'. He said in some cases, it actually cost people money to take up the posts, when travelling costs were taken into account.
But Cllr. Gerry McGuire (Lab) defended the schemes, saying they were a way for unemployed people to 'get out of a rut' and do something that 'give their lives meaning again'.
However, Cllr. Cian O'Callaghan (NP) said the schemes failed the test for jobs activation schemes which he said should have 'good quality employment opportunities' and should 'not be exploitative'.
County manager, Paul Reid, said the operation of the schemes in the council had union support.
There are currently 34 people working in the council under the two schemes and he said that there was 'no coercion on our part in any part of the process'.
He said however, that the schemes were not a long-term model for renewing the council's workforce and he hoped in his time on the council to see full-time recruiting start again at the local authority.