Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has called for the new tender process for the Local Employment Services (LES) and Job Clubs to be scrapped and the not-for-profit, community-based model to be protected. In response to the government’s recent Request for Tender (RFT) for employment services, Sinn Féin have produced the, ‘Job Activation: Protecting the Not-For-Profit Model’ policy, calling for the scaling up of the current community-based and people focused services.
Teachta Crowe said: “The Government is about to introduce a new model for the Local Employment Services (LES) and Job Clubs that encourages a ruthless shift to ‘services’ which focus on profit over people. This is not the person-centred approach so successfully fostered by the LES and Job Clubs, and will only result in a process of commercialisation which leaves those who need these services behind. “These concerns and the consequences of the proposed changes to Local Employment Services and Job Clubs have been raised with the Minister for Social Protection time and time again.
“Sinn Féin have long campaigned against privatisation of job activation services, like the disastrous JobPath scheme, which has cost close to €300m since 2015. We also remain strongly opposed to the government’s most recent move to commercialise those seeking employment. “Fine Gael are trying to introduce another for-profit model, which would put the race for profit above the needs of ordinary people. This approach could potentially push people into unsuitable, short-term positions just to tick a box. It also risks pricing out LES and Job Clubs which have a strong community approach and walk-in options which meet communities’ needs.
“I am calling on the Minister to revoke the tender and the hollowing out of these crucial local job activation services. “Instead, we should scale up existing employment services, to ensure areas which do not currently have LES or Job Clubs can avail of these high-quality services. “We know that existing models of employment services, like the LES and Job Clubs, work. People who have lost their jobs deserve support as they try to get back into the workforce again. The state has a responsibility to put support in place, which meets jobseekers’ needs, gives them the best opportunities and a realistic chance of returning to paid employment.
“Shifting to a profit-focused employment service model has no proven results and will not support long term and sustained employment in the State. “More than ever as we emerge from Covid-19, we need employment services which are fit to help people and give them the support they need to return to work. Privatisation of these services by Fine Gael must be resisted. “The Minister needs to revoke the current tender immediately and ensure the protection of quality employment services for all.”