Tuesday, 5 February 2019
JobPath Programme: Motion [Private Members]
I do not have long to speak but I urge the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to withdraw the amendment and consider the points being put forward. The Minister cannot call the scheme a success when fewer than 9% of people have sourced jobs that last longer than 12 months. They are not good permanent or decent jobs. They are not jobs that people go looking for. There are schemes that work. I am unsure whether the Minister runs advice clinics in her local area or if she speaks to people who come to her office. Maybe people do not come near her because they realise there is no point. Anyway, in my office I see people every day. The words used by my colleague included "short-term", "coercive" and "ruthless". These are the words used to describe the scheme that the Minister says she is proud of. I have no idea how the Minister can be proud of something that is short-term, coercive and ruthless. The programme leaves the people who participate - not through their choice - feeling degraded. It is not a positive experience for people. If it is the case that they will not say this to the Minister, perhaps they do not believe they will get a good hearing. Certainly, they say it to me and to my colleagues. I know they have no hesitation in saying it to the people who run advice clinics throughout the country. These schemes are not working. Not only are they not working and costing the State a fortune but the Minister is trying to privatise labour activation when there are schemes that work. Such schemes leave people with a positive experience and feeling empowered and ready to re-enter the labour market. However, this is not one of those schemes. For the Minister to come in an defend it is to go against what people are telling us about the reality they experience as part of this privatised labour activation model. The terms used by academics to describe the programme were "short-term", "coercive" and "ruthless". The Minister should reflect on that before she takes to her feet to defend it.