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12 January 2014 Edition

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IDA job creation agency exploits free labour scheme

Last year, ten IDA staff members received salaries of €100,000 to €170,000 – the IDA spent €300,000 on toilets at its Wilton Park offices

THE Irish Government’s state agency tasked with creating jobs in Ireland is trying to employ an “Executive Assistant” through the JobBridge free labour scheme because it cannot create an actual job due to the public service recruitment embargo.

The Industrial Development Agency (IDA Ireland) advertised the vacancy in their International Financial Services Division on the FÁS website over the New Year break through the JobBridge programme. JobBridge has been criticised by trade unions and labour experts as exploitative.

Sinn Féin Social Protection spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said the public services embargo prevents the IDA hiring new staff, “so they are trying to get around it on the backs of desperate, unemployed graduates”.

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• Sinn Féin Social Protection spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

He accused the IDA of telling job-seekers ‘we can’t create a job for you but we will use your free labour to create jobs for others’.

“Instead of doing their job, creating employment, they are looking to benefit from nine months’ free labour from a third level graduate with previous experience.”

The professional role, which requires the staff member to work full-time, will pay the intern an extra €50 on top of their social welfare payment.

At the end of 2013 it was revealed that ten IDA staff members received salaries of €100,000 to €170,000 per annum. In April, the agency was criticised for spending almost €300,000 on refitting toilets at its Wilton Park House offices.

Responding to Aengus Ó Snodaigh’s statement, an IDA spokesperson said it is incorrect to accuse the body of abusing the programme when there is no possibility of full-time work. Job-seekers have the opportunity to apply for jobs “within the organisation, as and when such positions arise”, it was claimed. But, of course, the IDA skips around the very obvious point that they cannot actually hire a single person as long as the state public service recruitment embargo is in place. Are they expecting job-seekers to intern for €50 a week for years on end?

Aengus Ó Snodaigh said the Fine Gael/Labour Government should lift the public services recruitment embargo and allow vacancies to be filled properly.

“This exploitation of the unemployed and the job displacement associated with it has to end,” the Dublin TD said. “Creating proper jobs with proper pay and conditions should be the aim of any government agency, not workers on the cheap through internships and schemes.”

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