FÁS says ‘Work for No Pay’

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The state employment and training service, FAS, is telling the unemployed to work for nothing.  On the 29th July 2010 they had 484 work experience positions on offer.   Not only do these jobs pay no wages, they are allowing bosses to get rid of staff and replace them with free labour.

The vast majority of the advertised unpaid jobs are full time (38-40hrs a week) and last for nine months.   Some examples are (we give the FAS reference number for each):

A chef de partie at Blarney Golf Resort (JB557332) with “a City & Guilds qualification or the equivalent”.  They are also looking for an upaid Commis Chef.    Eviston House Hotel in Killarney (JB557946) is looking for someone to work in housekeeping,  where “candidates will learn to have an eye for detail in ensuring rooms serviced to guest’s satisfaction”.

There are also instances where the unpaid work placement was very misleading in its description of what is on offer.   Advance Pit Stop (JB551520) offers positions as Trainee Fitter/Fitter in locations including Athlone,  Mallow and Cork.  The trade of fitter is a designated apprenticeship and it is dishonest to suggest to unemployed people that by taking part in this placement they are on the way towards an apprenticeship or qualification as a fitter.  Likewise, Paintbox is offering unpaid work for 40 hours a week for nine months as a Print Assistant, but there is no warning that this is not an entry route to become a Print Media craftsperson.

There are some instances where the quality of experience on offer is very limited and does not justify the length of time.   Waltons music store (JB551484) wants a Retail Sales Assistant to work for 35 hours a week and for 9 months without pay.   There are many other examples of stores throughout the country looking for retail trainees to work full time but without pay for nine months.  And let’s not forget Pat Woods Cleaning Services (JB553078) are offering unpaid work as a Window Cleaner, 40 hours a week for 9 months.   Nine months to learn how to wash a window!

Some may even be contrary to safety rules.  The driver of the land train down Dun Laoghaire pier (JB556929) is required to work unpaid for 40 hours or a Radiographers Assistant (JB555881) “who will be primarily involved in the department that provides  MRI scans to patients.  providing information and support to patients who maybe nervous about the procedure” .  

EuroDebt (JB538896) have an unpaid position as a Telephones Collections Officer for 37.5 hours a week for 9 months.  They advertise that the “role is based in our telephone collections team and will involve contacting customers who owe money to our clients”.  

Lucretia Tiles want someone with a forklift licence to work as a warehouse operative for 38 hours a week again for 9 months with no pay.

And then there is “a highly motivated hard working individual with exceptional people skills” required as a Car Wash Manager (JB557056) where the advert tells us “vehicles are only washed by hand using the most up to date techniques”.

Or what about General Assembly and Delivery Operator (JB550909) with Griffin Office Solutions?  “This person will be assisting with deliveries, and also working alone on small deliveries. Clean full drivers licence is required.  Small amount of forklift operation is also part of the job, so the candidate would also need a current forklift operating ticket”.

There is nothing wrong with quality work experience and training.  It can be useful to people just starting out on their career and as a way for unemployed people to maintain their skills and keep their CV up to date.  But it is clear that greedy employers are taking advantage of the hopes of unemployed people.   The government is complicit in this, FAS is a state agency.  Should we be surprised?  Not really, capitalism is all about making as much profit as possible, and what better way than to stop paying wages!  It’s welfare for the rich.

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