Anti-Austerity Alliance councillor John Loftus has submitted a motion urging the local authority executive to “immediately disengage from taking on any further Gateway or JobBridge trainees” and to instead create “real jobs with meaningful training and security”.
“People are spending long periods of time in these positions that will never lead to anything. It’s slave labour with no direction. There is no real training in any of these jobs,” Cllr Loftus told the Limerick Post.
“People are now being forced to take up these positions. I think you’re allowed to refuse one position, and after that if you don’t take a position you will have your dole cut. In recent years the government has shed 3,000 jobs, and in the same period they’ve created 3,000 jobs on JobBridge and Gateway schemes.”
The Limerick City West councillor continued: “A lot of JobBridge positions are looking for people who have honours degrees. These are people who have worked hard at university and struggled to get their degrees. If they need someone to do jobs like these then why aren’t they creating proper jobs?”
However, metropolitan district Mayor and Limerick City East councillor Michael Sheahan believes that the schemes are of benefit to jobseekers.
“I’ve spoken to many people about this and most seem to be quite positive about the scheme. It seems to be people on the left side of politics that are totally opposed to it.”
The Fine Gael councillor continued: “The general opinion is that it is a good thing; of course there are rogue companies that were taken off the list, but they are in the minority. If you’re looking for a job, you’re not just going to get one when you’re sitting at home, so JobBridge does help in that way.”
Cllr Sheahan added that he does agree with Anti-Austerity Alliance councillor Cian Prendiville’s suggestion that rogue companies that abuse the schemes “should be named and shamed”.