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Youth groups call for end JobBridge scheme

Youth advocacy groups have this week declared their opposition to the JobBridge scheme.

Sunday, 2 February 2014
12:00 AM GMT

Several youth advocacy groups have issued a joint call for the Government to end the national internship scheme, JobBridge.

The youth committees of the Communications Workers’ Union and Mandate Trade Union along with the Union of Students in Ireland, ScamBridge and the We’re Not Leaving group declared their opposition to the scheme this week.

“JobBridge is not just an attack on those seeking work but also part of a much broader attempt to reduce the pay and conditions of workers in all sectors of the economy,” commented CWU Youth Committee Chair, Derek Keenan.

“The scheme has depressed real job creation by allowing employers to avail of a free labour pool of unemployed workers desperate to get a foothold within the labour market. This abuse must cease; everyone deserves to be paid for their labour and we are calling on the government to phase out the scheme,” he added.

Mandate Youth spokesperson, David Gibney said the JobBridge scheme was “a direct attack on the concept of decent work”.

“Many companies are abusing the system and undermining existing terms and conditions of employment in both their own companies and their competitors',” he said.

Joe O’Connor, USI President, said that while the USI believed there was a need for quality internships and real upskilling opportunities for young people in Ireland, it was now clear that JobBridge was now “broken beyond repair”.

“Any internship scheme should be properly monitored and regulated, and should not displace fully paid labour. Clearly, JobBridge is failing in that respect, and we believe it should be brought to an end.”

The Socialist Party's Paul Murphy MEP, founder of the campaign, said that the scheme must be replaced by a real jobs scheme, which would include "investment in education, meaningful training and real jobs".

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