THE Anti Austerity Alliance have outlined proposals to replace the Government’s controversial JobBridge and Gateway initiatives with a “real jobs programme of public works, free education and genuine training schemes”.
The AAA’s costed plan, which would see around 6,000 jobs created in Limerick and 150,000 nationwide, was launched at a public meeting on Tuesday 8 in Limerick’s Pery’s Hotel.
Last week it emerged that 28 people had their social welfare payments reduced for refusing to go on the new Gateway scheme which requires people work up to 19.5 hours a week for local authorities for a period of 22 months, for a top-up of €20 on their welfare payment.
AAA candidate for Limerick City East, Derrick Towell, described the Gateway initiative as state-sponsored slave labour. He claimed the scheme is being used to by the Government to attack the unemployed and to fill gaps in the local authority workforce caused by successive recruitment embargoes.
“ScamBridge.ie have launched a campaign to make Gateway a major issue in the local elections. Here in Limerick the AAA will be taking part in that campaign too, as Limerick Council has been one of the biggest users of this scheme so far.
“We are encouraging everyone opposed to this scheme to get involved in our local election campaign,” said Mr Towell.
According to Limerick City West AAA candidate, John Loftus, the Government’s strategy of “driving down wages and hoping multinationals swoop and and save the day” has failed.
“Thousands are emigrating every week, and rather than create jobs, companies are just getting in free labour through JobBridge. We think the Government must act and invest money in a programme of public works to create jobs,” said Mr Loftus.
“As the RealJobs programme outlines, an investment of around €5 billion would create 150,000 jobs. When you consider they are spending €8 billion on servicing the debts built up by the banks, surely jobs should be a bigger priority?” he said.