Last year, 50% of the weekly dole payment was cut for under-20s. This trend continues: since the latest budget, new dole applicants under-25s who sign on will get only €150 a week and those aged 20-21 will get €100 a week.
By Manus Lenihan
Clearly in the coming weeks and months, many more young people will lose their jobs or leave school into unemployment and onto such poverty dole payments. These cuts are blatant age discrimination but there’s more behind them too.
Firstly, the “full” €196 will be paid to under-25s if they’re in training or education. Secondly, payments will be cut to €150 a week for everyone who refuses a job or training scheme. These measures are represented as a punishment for the lazy. Even if this were the intention, it wouldn’t work- refusing to work long hours for chicken feed without job security is not the same thing as being lazy. Neither is it lazy to be fed up with “training” for months on end for nonexistent jobs. Furthermore, FAS training allowance, already a pittance, has itself been cut in the budget.
However, punishing idle workers is not the government’s real intention. They have longer-term goals in mind. If a young worker is to be punished for refusing a job offer, employers will have no reason to offer decent wages, hours or conditions. Their aim is to make us see ourselves as disposable, as second-class citizens when it comes to jobs. Young workers are to be cheap, “competitive” labour.
That’s the role that IBEC and the government have in mind for our generation, and that’s all capitalism has to offer the youth of this country. The only alternative that young workers have is to defend the rights we have, and demand those due to us, through struggle for a society based on peoples‘ needs, not profit.