Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has called on Wicklow County council not to co-operate with the implementation of the new Gateway Scheme which he has described as a slave labour initiative. The scheme aims to recruit 3,000 employees for local authorities from the live register to work for their dole plus €20.
Councillor Brady said “At the March monthly meeting of Wicklow County Council I raised the Governments latest attempt to artificially reduce the unemployment figures with the implementation of what’s called the Gateway scheme. Local authorities have been decimated over the last few years by a huge reduction in numbers due to the recruitment embargo which has left many positions unfilled; it has had a devastating impact on local authorities’ ability to deliver frontline services.”
“Gateway is in effect a scheme which entails 22 months of hard labour for a measly €20 top-up. This scheme will do nothing to improve local services which are being cut due to lack of funding and a recruitment embargo. This scheme punishes people who are on the live register in many cases through no fault of their own. It would be of more benefit to those on the live register and the economy as a whole if the Minister of Social protection Joan Burton, ironically a Labour minister, directed the necessary funding into providing more sustainable employment.”
Brady continued “At the council meetinglast I called on the council not to degrade the work which is done by their staff by buying in to a scheme which amounts to slave labour and for the council not to cooperate with the scheme. There is no up skilling or training for those that are selected to partake in the scheme and it won’t enhance the prospects of them getting a job at the end of the 22 months, they will simply become another statistic on the live register.”
The Sinn Fein councillor concluded “The vast majority of unemployed people want to work, but they want to work in a meaningful job. How does it benefit a college graduate who will be put to work cleaning road traffic signs or sweeping the road? What we need is a proper stimulus and jobs plan to get people back to work. Exploiting people and forcing them to work on demeaning schemes such as Gateway is wrong and it amounts to little more than slave labour.”