For lefties too stubborn to quit
An appeal to (right-wing) authority? 11:15 Fri Oct 31, 2014 | WorldbyStorm
The National Museum and while we?re at it remember those ?solutions? to the crash? 09:55 Fri Oct 31, 2014 | WorldbyStorm
This Week At Irish Election Literature 05:04 Fri Oct 31, 2014 | irishelectionliterature
More unintended consequence after the referendum on Scotland and independence 22:35 Thu Oct 30, 2014 | WorldbyStorm
Increasing pay and productivity? 11:43 Thu Oct 30, 2014 | WorldbyStorm
Cedar Lounge >>
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
Irish Air: Message from the CEO Fri Oct 31, 2014 15:19 | Kevin Higgins
Unrealistic Timelines: Water Charges and the Fiscal Deficit Tue Oct 28, 2014 15:14 | Michael Taft
That Day has Come Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:45 | Anne Irwin
The Changing Pattern of Foreign Investment in China Wed Oct 22, 2014 13:36 | John Ross
Welcome to the New Tax Avoidance Scheme, Same as the Old Tax Avoidance Scheme Mon Oct 20, 2014 16:26 | Michael Taft
Irish Left Review >>
Northern/Irish Feminist Judgments: First Workshop ?The Foreign Subject? Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:22 | GuestPost
The Extraordinary Synod in Rome. Will it bring extraordinary times? Wed Oct 22, 2014 07:09 | GuestPost
A new Constitutional Settlement for Northern Ireland: Queries from International Law Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:27 | Aoife O'Donoghue
Why Budget 2015 must be that last of its kind Fri Oct 17, 2014 08:36 | Liam Thornton
Socio-Economic Rights & Budget Analysis: Some Notes on Available Resources, ?Progressivity? and Non... Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:55 | Liam Thornton
Human Rights in Ireland >>
Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake
Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake
Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake
NAMA Wine Lake >>
Interesting article on the new sanctions for the unemployed that joan burton has set up
rights and freedoms |
Tuesday September 24, 2013 12:42 by dave
Joan burton minister for social protection has set up what has been called a new carrot and stick approach to the unemployed masses of ireland.
The carrot is not suffficient ,and either is the stick for that matter,the carrot being jobbridge,and the stick being that social welfare can withhold your welfare for up to 63 days,and having the powers to reduce your social welfare payment..As far as i can see there is no new thinking on how to approach those who have lost their jobs,or are not adequately qualified or experienced to take up jobs..
Jobridge has been uncovered as a scam,to bolster up employers staff without expense,and can re-hire more job bridge workers as they please.Where is the incentive to employ people,take on paid work when job bridge is in the way of that.What employer is going to pay people to work when job bridge is for free?
It is clear the government have not thought this through properly for whatever reason.
Below is an article on this issue by Tom Boland.
'THE MINISTER FOR Social Protection Joan Burton announced new opportunities and sanctions for the social welfare system; new carrots and new sticks. That the carrots arenít very wholesome and that the sticks are quite ferocious hasnít been much picked up in the media so far.
First of all the bright new opportunities: JobsBridge, the government funded intern system has been extended from 9 to 18 months. Effectively itís a longer bridge, which goes to show that the existing bridge didnít have any jobs at the end of it Ė rather like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In JobsBridge, an unemployed person works for a company who may or may not eventually have an opening for them, in exchange for a Ä50 top up on their dole. Effectively, they are often working for less than the minimum wage, in the frequently vain hope that there will be a real job for them in the future.
The unemployed do not benefit from this system
Who benefits from this system? Clearly, it is employers who get labour for nothing. Furthermore, the implicit threat that real jobs could be replaced by interns is also significant. And though the state has to pay for all of this, the government benefits in that JobsBridge reduces the official numbers of long-term unemployed, even though they donít actually find jobs.
Over 80,000 people are currently part of publicly funded activation programmes, and therefore not counted on the live-register or in the overall unemployment rate. So Joan & Co look good.
The existing sanction for non-compliance with the Active Labour Market Policies of the social welfare system is a reduction of payment from 188 to 144 per week. This is well below the poverty line. And remember that the unemployed already suffer disproportionately from food and fuel poverty and indebtedness. What is non-compliance? It includes not meeting with officers for assessment, failure to demonstrate job-seeking activities or refusal to take up training or education or even a JobsBridge place. Over 1,500 people have been sanctioned this year to date.
What is ďnon-complianceĒ?
The new sanction in the social welfare system is that non-compliance with the system can be punished by a withholding of payments for up to nine weeks. Nine weeks is 63 days, which is approximately how long each of the Hunger Strikers took to die in the maze prison. But of course, the unemployed who are cut adrift for nine weeks have recourse to soup-kitchens and charity and begging! So thatís ok, right?
Of course, the unemployed are receiving benefits from the state, and therefore they should comply with the system. The system is supposed to be there to help them. However, with so many unemployed, and so few job opportunities, surely any help offered will be taken up by sufficient numbers, that sanctions should be unnecessary. Furthermore, the threat of sanctions increase the stress levels of all the unemployed; and the unemployed have twice the national incidence of depression and three times their incidence of suicide. There is no need to kick people when they are down.
Is it ok to cut people off?
But the real moral question here is how we treat those who genuinely do not comply. Beyond those who do not wish to take an absurd JobsBridge internship or be forced to change profession in order to fit in with the current demands of the labour market, it is probable that there are some people who are not genuinely seeking work. They are using tax-payers money and giving nothing back. Is it ok to cut these people off without any means of subsistence?
I donít think so. At present there are over four thousand people convicted of criminal offences in Irish prisons. None of them are allowed to go hungry. Clearly, inmates have not complied, often in very serious ways, with the laws of the land. The state feeds and houses them at significantly more cost than a basic social welfare payment. In fact, since the state is the primary guardian of the human rights of its citizens, making even non-compliers effectively destitute is surely a legal as well as a moral failure.
These new carrots and sticks will do nothing for the real economy; their real effect is to make the lives of all of the unemployed more unpleasant. It is not ĎSocial Protectioní at all.'
Tom Boland lectures in Sociology at Waterford Institute of Technology and is co-ordinator of the Waterford Unemployment Experiences Research Collaborative. To read more articles by Tom for TheJournal.ie