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Dublin: 11 °C Monday 22 October, 2018
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Marchers in Dublin City today want JobBridge to be scrapped

The protest is being organised by the youth committees of a number of unions with two MEP hopefuls involved.

Image: Twitter/Mandate Trade Union

A MARCH AGAINST the Government’s JobBridge scheme has begun at the Central Bank in Dublin and will finish at the Social Welfare Offices on Pearse Street.

The protest is being organised by the youth committees of a number of unions including the Communications Workers’ Union, the Mandate Trade Union and the Union of Students in Ireland.

The anti-JobBridge group Scambridge.ie and the anti-emigration campaign We’re Not Leaving is also taking part in the march.

“Don’t get me wrong, there are some people who JobBridge has benefited and there is room for properly planned and independently monitored internship scheme – but the flaws of JobBridge, which supplies free labour to some highly profitable employers, is beyond repair,”argues Mandate’s David Gibney.

It’s widely accepted to be a crude mechanism for massaging unemployment statistics under the guise of providing ‘experience’. Young people are being told, work for less than half the minimum wage and live in poverty or else emigrate.

Today’s protests are therefore calling on the JobBridge programme to be scrapped completely.

The USI’s Joe O’Connor say it is nothing more than “forced unpaid labour”, arguing that “rather than reform and improve the situation facing young people, the Government are choosing to expand and enforce these schemes on them”.

Two Dublin European election candidates are taking part in today’s protest, Paul Murphy MEP of the Socialist Party and Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan.

Murphy is the founder of the Scambridge.ie campaign and said before the protest that the JobBridge and Gateway schemes are “at the heart of a process of the normalisation of working for free”.

Read: Sligo has the highest rate of people on JobBridge right now >

Read: Gerry Adams says Gateway and JobBridge massaging dole numbers >

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Rónán Duffy

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