Galway protest against JobPath, & Privatisation of Social Welfare

Start Date: 
Tuesday, 21 January, 2014 - 11:00

Protest called against JobPath, & Privatisation of Social Welfare. 11am Tuesday 21st January. Dept. Social Protection, Augustine St., Galway. The People Before Profit Alliance in Galway are holding a protest at the local Social Welfare office in the city to warn the public and Department of Social Protection staff of JobPath, a new programme that proposes to target long-term unemployed persons on the live register to accept work-for-welfare jobs. Minister Joan Burton intends contracting JobPath services to private firms. Such privatisation has proved disastrous for the public and resulted in spectacular failures elsewhere. It results in 'a race to the bottom' for Social Welfare workers and other public servants, as well as workers in companies accepting workfare placements. The Dept. Of Social Protection has invited tenders for the JobPath initiative, attracting interest from companies such as multinational security firm G4S, Serco, and Ingeus. These foreign corporations operate in ways that would never be allowed by Ireland’s public sector workers. For example: G4S has a long history of scandals, from racial harassment, to deaths of asylum seekers in their care, and recently probation officers in Britain took strike action against the threat of working for G4S. The company has contracts with Israel involved in projects that contravene UN legality. The British Serious Fraud Office is currently investigating G4S, and Serco, over allegations of false expense claims off the UK government. Contractors handling our welfare services will be able to outsource ‘workfare’ style schemes to smaller companies. They will also be allowed to set their own prices and fees for ‘progressing’ the unemployed. Paid by results, it is in their interests to force people off the live register regardless of whether JobPath is suitable for an individual. In the USA people on these schemes have been pushed into menial jobs in order to get their welfare. Afterwards, the average person got poorly paid jobs, and had to battle to claim welfare again when they could not afford to continue in that employment. JobPath mentions work for welfare ‘innovation', which saw scheme-employees filling state community sector employment for next to nothing in the US. Ireland may adopt one of several British schemes forcing people to work for welfare: such as 4 weeks unpaid work for up to 30 hours a week for the profit of the host organisation; or, 6 month long placements which costs the taxpayer - but is a gift to businesses. The 'flexibility' mentioned in JobPath sounds good, but is solely for the benefit of the potential company, not the unemployed person. People Before Profit election candidate Kiran Emrich is calling a protest at 11am Tuesday 21st January outside the Dept. Social Protection, on Augustine St., in Galway. Says Kiran, "It is about time the Fine Gael/Labour government acknowledged that real job creation requires tackling the investment strike by the super-rich in Ireland and the hold this has on ability to create real employment. JobPath is just another way of penalising the poorest in society, and it also adversely affects workers already on low to middle incomes. Putting money in the pockets of big businesses through privatisation is more of the same from a government that promised change. People deserve, and we must demand, better." Ends Kiran Emrich. People Before Profit Alliance election candidate, Galway Central. 086 0869514 kemrichpbpa@gmail.com Campaign manager: Dette Mc Loughlin 091 596844 5dette@eircom.net