POLL DANCERS: Job Bridge
I would never tell anyone how to vote, everybody has there reasons, I have friends and family members that will vote for just about every party or alliance in the country be it the AAA or the BFG, I don’t have mutually exclusive relationships with socialists or Marxists or capitalists or whatever “ist” I might feel like identifying most with that day. I’m not going to talk about fiscal space or economics because my only knowledge of ‘Macros’ and ‘Micros” is that they are fats? Maybe? Are they? And I’m not going to talk about health care systems because as far as I’m concerned I’d move back to London solely for the NHS but I don’t even know how GB makes that work. I’ve been obsessed with politics since I was about 10, I don’t expect others to share my interest but I can’t pretend that I wouldn’t love if they’d do themselves a favour and read some manifestos. I have wanted to write something on Job Bridge Schemes for a while now. As someone who took part in one it has all been a bit hard to process but I really feel if there is ever a time to talk about it, it’s election time, particularly when it has become such a shared experience of the ‘Generation Y’ers out there. The Job Bridge Scheme takes an estimated 83,000 people off the live register with it’s ‘Internships’. That is 83,000 people who are still earning less than €250 a week and are no where near being secure financially or otherwise. I don’t want to blast any organisations who take on these interns, I know of some people who’ve gotten a job in them at the end of it but I know of far more who haven’t. Many organisations, knowing they can’t ever advertise two Job Bridge’s with the same job description adapt their ‘Intern Roles’ time and time again every nine months as soon as the last intern has left the building. An administrative assistant role becomes an office support role and so on and so on. And in a way I’m not really blaming them for doing this, nor am I condoning it, if you offer people free workers and create a culture in which it is ok to do so they’ll take it. Which I suppose leads me to my real problem with these schemes, in that they have given life to a system in which businesses are now relying on free work and they’ve become entirely accustomed to it. This system was not a viable scheme to deal with the unemployment problem post crash and has created an unnecessary dependency. The government chose to aid employers rather than the unemployed. Many of whom were only unemployed because of the ‘Last in First out’ policy that seemed to become the mantra of the recession years. Instead of encouraging employers (financially or otherwise) to employ they encouraged the unemployed to work for free, which may have buffered up some graduates CVs but has done little else but perpetuate the fact that nowadays it seems acceptable for people to work for free and have no one feel guilty about it. For this reason (and many more) I cannot vote for the current government who keep shouting about their miraculous recovery, nor can I vote for Fianna Fail who brought us to our unpaid interned knees in the first place. I suppose I’ve written this for your consideration on Friday, I put my hand on my heart when I tell you I voted for Labour in 2011, I brought this on myself, but the choice was mine cause I took it. Read up and take your choice on Friday whatever that maybe.