Fórsa intends to seek an official commitment that the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Welfare will refrain from outsourcing job activation programmes to private companies in future. The move follows this month’s welcome Dáil vote to end the referrals to the discredited JobPath scheme.
Now the union wants assurances that the department will use community-based organisations like job clubs and the local employment service – along with department staff – instead of expensive and ineffective commercial suppliers.
The JobPath fiasco has seen two private companies receive almost €150 million between them since 2014. Yet only 9% of jobseekers who went through the scheme were still in employment after a year.
The JobPath companies received payments when jobseekers first presented, more cash when they were placed in a job, plus a bonus if a jobseeker gained sustained employment for a full year.
Fórsa official Paul McSweeney said outsourcing job activation was poor value for money. “JobPath has been an unmitigated failure in placing long-term unemployed in meaningful and sustained jobs. We will now be demanding the in-souring of this work with adequate resources to ensure that it’s done well in future,” he said.
The unions that amalgamated to create Fórsa just over a year ago opposed the outsourcing of job activation. The former CPSU and PSEU took the matter to arbitration, but were unsuccessful.