In this issue:
REAs probably protected by Industrial Relations Act 2012
Ballot on industrial action in Bus Éireann
SIPTU manufacturing conference launches declaration on workplace innovation
Agreement reached in Killarney Golf Club dispute
Strike action deferred at Shanganagh Waste Water Treatment Plant
Historic banners to the fore in Dublin May Day march
May Day in Belfast
Congress says time to abandon failed austerity and build a fair recovery
SIPTU calls for caution in regard to use of internships
Survey finds that 94% of young people do not want to emigrate
SIPTU welcomes C&AG report on Skills Programme fund
Nash questions closure of National Ambulance Control Centre
SIPTU welcomes ECJ court ruling in favour of Waterford Crystal workers
James Connolly Bridge campaign petition
SIPTU welcomes auditing of Department of Education building projects
SIPTU shop steward elected on to St. James Hospital Board
SIPTU meets with Diamond Innovations management to discuss threatened job losses
MANDATE Trade Union
Derry May Day and the Factory Girls
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to meet with youth workers
Galway’s trade union heritage celebrated
End Bangladesh's anti-union laws
View of Dublin City from the top of Liberty Hall
Caution needed over IBEC call to ease back on austerity
Global Labour Column
Action X Protest
James Connolly Memorial Lecture
Darkness into Light 5K Walk/Run
Fair Hotel
Book Sale in aid of Docklands Senior Provider Forum
Larkin Credit Union
The James Plunkett Short Story Award
Supporting Quality Campaign!
SIPTU Basic English Scheme
VHI Health Insurance
SIPTU Membership Services - Travel Insurance
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SIPTU calls for caution in regard to use of internships

The publication of an evaluation of the national internship programme, JobBridge, by Indecon consultants, on Wednesday (1st May), provides some positive indications of progression to paid employment but improvements are required to prevent exploitation and job displacement, according to SIPTU Policy Researcher, Loraine Mulligan.

The report states that by November 2012, 7,058 participants had completed an internship while a total of 12,560 had commenced since the scheme’s launch in June 2011.

Based on survey information, Indecon estimates that 61.4% of participants currently have a job, five months after partaking in an internship under the scheme. However, only 45.2% have full-time permanent employment.  Of these 25.7% were employed in the host organisation; 12.4% had a job in the same sector while 23.3% had a job in another sector.

SIPTU Policy Researcher, Loraine Mulligan, said: “This raises questions about the risk of interns being used merely as cheap labour by some employers who offer no job prospects but can avoid employing or paying a staff member at the industry-rate.  It is welcome that one of the report’s recommendations suggests that host organisations should have the option of directly paying the intern rather than relying on the current social welfare plus €50 top-up payment.  However, extending the duration of an internship to two years is unwarranted.  Young workers have a legitimate expectation of regular employment, especially after obtaining work-experience, rather than having to struggle to get by on a lengthy internship.”

The report finds that a majority of participants are ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their experience and consider they gained useful skills.  However, 22.3% of interns who responded to the survey were either dissatisfied or ‘very dissatisfied’.  44.5% of those surveyed did not complete the full duration of JobBridge. While this occurred for 63% because they secured employment, almost one third left due to dissatisfaction with the placement.

Loraine Mulligan added: “Monitoring of the scheme should be strengthened. There is scope for abuse to slip through the cracks because the reporting mechanisms are relatively passive. This issue risks undermining the credibility of the scheme and requires attention, taking on board the concerns of trade unions. There is a broader problem of unpaid internships outside this scheme that are totally unregulated which must also urgently be addressed.”
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