We now know the names of 11,394 of them. But we’re not going to tell you who they are, yet…

As readers of The Flame will well be aware; we’ve never been fans of so-called ‘labour activation schemes’ such as JobBridge due to their blatant exploitation of the unemployed. We have actively campaigned for their abolition in the #WorkMustPay campaign and through this we’ve become acutely aware that the use of JobBridge interns is not restricted to a small number of regular offenders. Instead it is an endemic problem that spreads across all areas of the economy, public services and the community sector.

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Our Freedom of Information Research

At the end of last year, Unite Youth Dublin activists decided to investigate the scale of this exploitation by putting a Freedom of Information (FOI) request into the Department of Social Protection about the number of organisations that have used JobBridge interns since its inception. Much to our surprise, this request was largely successful.

While some names have been redacted; we now know the names of over 11 thousand organisations who have profited from the scheme. This list does not cover the number of interns each company/organisation has used but it is still a valuable reference list to confirm who has taken part in this attack on our employment rights. Due to some cases of particular interest, we have placed some further FOI requests to learn more and so we will not be publishing this list immediately. However in the coming weeks, we will post the full list of names on this website so that all campaigning organisations can use this resource.

Some Notes on JobBridge ‘Employers’

Firstly it must be noted that the number of organisations and companies that have used JobBridge interns over a period of 4 years is staggering considering the 16,471 figure relates to at least one intern being hired by that particular company and does not account for multiple interns being hired at the same time or over several years. Some of names of companies involve the usual suspects such as Subway, SuperValu and government departments but when the list is investigated further it becomes apparent that many surprising sectors exist where JobBridge interns are used:

  • Over 300 schools
  • Over 10 churches
  • Over 10 universities
  • Over 50 hospitals
  • Over 160 hotels
  • Over 40 credit unions
  • Over 50 golf clubs

As well as this, the charity and community sector have clearly become heavily dependent on interns with nearly all of them represented in the list. We have no interest in highlighting personal blame on any of these charities but we will not remove them from the list as it was their choice to be involved in using JobBridge interns.

Freedom of Information Requests as a Campaigning Tool

Just a short note to say that exploratory FOI requests, should the resources be available to you, are an excellent research method which can be turned into valuable campaigning material. We would encourage all like-minded groups which campaign on issues linked to government activity to consider this as an approach to incorporate into their strategies. Information is power, and the dissemination of potentially embarrassing information about your opponents is an effective tactic to undermine their arguments and put forward a case for progressive politics. You can find out more, such as, how to place a FOI request here.

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