Gino Kenny, a candidate for People Before Profit-United Left Alliance, has condemned the new TUS scheme as a form of ‘conscript labour’.
The scheme is designed to force 5,000 unemployed people to undertake community service.
According to Councillor Kenny,
‘This will be the first of the new ‘labour activation’ measures being promoted by the IMF. ‘Labour activation’ is business peak for forcing people off benefit and making them do poorly paid work.‘
People selected for the new TUS programme will receive only €20 extra for working a 19 and a half hour week. They will have to continue working for at least a year or face the prospect of being cut off the dole.
‘No real training will be provided and the scheme is specifically designed to intimidate people.‘The official TUS factsheet makes it clear that its real purpose is to push some people away from claiming Job Seekers Allowance. The TUS factsheet states ‘it will contribute to the management of the live register and act as a deterrent to those not eligible for welfare benefits’ ‘When the scheme was first mooted, government spin doctors stated that it would be voluntary.‘But now TUS factsheet poses the question: ‘Will it be obligatory to participate if offered an opportunity? ‘ and answers it by stating that ‘Yes, it is obligatory to respond to the offer to participate made by the Department of Social Protection as all recipients of Job Seekers support must engage with the National Employment Action Plan.’
This means that unemployed people are now being conscripted to carry out work in communities that was originally carried out by community workers who earned a proper wage.
‘In their recent country report on Ireland, the IMF acknowledged that the rate of unemployment would remain at a high 13 percent until at least 2015.‘The government has no intention of creating real jobs. So its only answer is intimidation to encourage people to leave the country’.