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Interesting article on the new sanctions for the unemployed that joan burton has set up

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Tuesday September 24, 2013 12:42author by dave Report this post to the editors

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 aren’t very wholesome and that the sticks are quite ferocious hasn’t 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 it’s a longer bridge, which goes to show that the existing bridge didn’t have any jobs at the end of it – 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 €50 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 don’t 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 “non-compliance”?

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 that’s 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 don’t 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 ‘Social Protection’ 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

author by unemployed and houndedpublication date Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:57Report this post to the editors

The carrot and stick approach that has been championed by joan burton illustrates there is no connection really to the unemployed by those in the upper echelons of society.

I have been hounded by social welfare to provide evidence i was working,forced to go on courses that do not relate to my work experience and told in no uncertian terms if i 'do not comply' i will be pushed off social welfare altogether,and told my welfare would not even be cut i would simply be 'cut off' and i would jepordise my position.

When unemployed parents were complaining about the cost of buying school materials for their young for school,Joan burtons response was to ''Shop around'',it is clear this woman is out of touch with the rest of society,many of whom are unemployed due to being layed off,redundancy packages,early retirement etc,etc.

Job bridge only benefits business players,not the ordinary joe on the street,which job bridge is supposed to be helping.

I believe job bridge was set up for two reasons:
1 . To massage dole figures, to make joan burton look good,and make it look like she is doing something about the job's situation,when she is not.

2 . To give employers free workers,in this situation they will not pay for workers ,therefore there will be shrinkage in the jobs market due to the fact employer will no longer pay for workers now that job bridge is available..

There is nothing like being kicked when your down,these people don't care,there is no social protection.

author by ciaran o sullivanpublication date Tue Sep 24, 2013 16:25Report this post to the editors

JobsBridge has probably cost more jobs than it has created. JobsBridge has created a slave labour class. I am entirely convinced there would be more jobs and more money in our economy if it were not for JobsBridge. It’s a disgusting scheme.

author by fredpublication date Tue Sep 24, 2013 18:49Report this post to the editors

During the "celtic tiger property bubble" When we had full employment, there were still a small percentage of the workforce getting unemployment.

These people were likely alcoholics, schizophrenics, and others with learning disabilities or literacy problems. In other words, the mentally ill people thrown out onto the streets and "privatised" by the HSE.

It's disgusting that violent offenders with no respect for other people in society, on becoming prisoners often have more security of daily food and a roof over themselves than poor honest law abiding citizens who are down on their luck. But then again, it makes sense in a twisted kind of way. The current system needs these criminal types to justify the expenditure on policing which in turn allows them to defend the interests of the rich from the "proles". See the likes of the Rossport protest for evidence of this.

In the US, privatised prisons have made such offenders totally essential to the system and in the pursuit of profits.

So violent criminals play their part in the system, and are rewarded, but honest poor people not able to get a job serve no purpose at all to the system and so can be harassed and left starving and homeless without means of support by petty bureaucrats acting on unreasonable guidelines.

Furthermore, there is a huge lie being perpetuated in the modern world about the assumed "nobility of work".
Often it merely serves to keep the proles occupied so they don't have time to reflect on their circumstances.

Caption: This famous essay by Bertrand Russell exposes the lie of work

author by Forkhillpublication date Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:26Report this post to the editors

I'm on the same wavelength with you Fred when it comes to these issues. I'm in a less then ideal work situation at the moment and I've had my fair share of unpleasant jobs and psychopath bosses. What's the solution? , do we allow nature to take it's course and hope that the beast destroys itself or do we take affirmative action ourselves. They have the game so sewn up and tight at this stage , they've had thousands of years to perfect it after all!!.

author by unemployed and houndedpublication date Wed Sep 25, 2013 16:49Report this post to the editors

I think there needs to be a new approach to the unemployed,those who are on the dole for over 10 years should be put on to the jobs market,and by that i don't mean job bridge which serves to sucker what could be real paid jobs out of the community..

Jobridge and FAS need to be cut from the social welfare expenditure and /or merged into one unit to save money.

People who are on the dole for short bursts and starts should not be hounded by social welfare to prove they are looking for work,it's hard enough as it is. But they should be encouraged to do courses and make themselves job ready for the market.

I have been in a situation where im unemployed and looking for work,some of the agencies and companies do not even email you back,or send out the rejection letter you have to chase them up and ring them to make sure they send out the letter.

Sometimes it's hard to provide the evidence,i was lucky i had a few rejection letters to hand,but i had to ring up and chase them up afterwards to send out the letter.

author by fredpublication date Wed Sep 25, 2013 17:13Report this post to the editors


I don't know, but we have to start thinking about it the right way and give the problem shape before we can actually address it. Revolutions only work when everyone understands exactly why they are revolting and what the ultimate goal is. The arab spring "revolutions" have shown this to be true yet again.

Current society doesn't give us time to think and it frames the discussions so we don't address the root causes, because vested interests like the status quo.

So we need to start asking questions like "what is the whole point of an economy"?

The answers that fall out of that are things like:

"to provide for the basic needs of people"

But the current system DOES NOT DO THIS so it is fair to say it has no legitimacy and we probably need to replace it with some kind of a decentralised communal grassroots system of collectives that put basic human needs and the environment first and not profit for a very few at the expense of all else and everyone else.

Currently however, people are divided and sleepwalking through their enslaved lives and do not seem to have this kind of revolutionary consciousness, and that makes them easy prey to vested interests, their captive media and their government party political service providers. :-(

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