“Welfare to Work” program Steps to Success have 900 free workers on its books in Strabane alone.

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“Welfare to Work” program Steps to Success have 900 free workers on its books in Strabane alone.

 

The Irish Republican Socialist Party is calling for people to have greater awareness of what’s happening with the Steps to Success program currently being forced on people all across the northern occupied counties. Unemployed workers are being targeted as a source of free labour for the private sector, subsidized by public money. Being forced onto these “Welfare to Work” schemes prohibit the opportunity for finding meaningful employment with no real jobs created only a conveyor belt of publically funded workers for private profit.

 

Michael McLaughlin of the IRSP continues “Essentially what we have here is a vast pool of labour to be exploited by the private sector. Although the program is currently facing problems getting placements for participants some of the stories we are hearing from people currently on placements are degrading. What will also happen is that unemployment figures will fall drastically giving an unrealistic picture of real unemployment which will be spinned by Stormont political parties as a reduction when in actual fact is anything but?”

 

Mr McLaughlin said “Put yourself in the place of an unscrupulous large corporation only interested in profit margins. Do you create a full time position for a worker, with all the benefits of full employment, or do you get a worker in on a “welfare to work” scheme that is subsidized by the public purse, essentially free labour for your business? I know of many large corporations who would only be too glad to exploit young unemployed people in this way, with no chance of real employment at the end of it. Once you have served your 12 month sentence for “steps to success” your back on the dole and the next scheme participant is sub-contracted in your old position.”

 

Mr McLaughlin finishes “Since the IRSP launched its campaign to expose the “steps to success” program on social media we have been inundated with personal stories from people currently on the scheme. Everyone we have spoken to has had a negative experience. One 40 year old woman was forced to commute a 30 mile round trip to a McDonald’s fast food restaurant for which she was given £1.62 per hour. In another case a 28 year old was threatened by the private company Rutledge ,delivering “steps to success”, that if he didn’t attend the highly unsuitable placement they provided for him he would lose his Jobseekers and Housing Benefit for 6 months, effectively driving him into abject poverty and homelessness.. We need to continue to raise public awareness of how Stormont are not only letting this happen but are culpable in the administration of it.”

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