A Government plan to draft in multinationals to deliver services to job seekers – work which can be better provided by the public and community sector – is to be steadfastly opposed by SIPTU. The Department of Social Protection (DSP) proposals will mean that private, for-profit companies will be operating the JobPath scheme by the end of the year. The scheme is aimed at what the DSP describes as the “harder to help” category of unemployed person.This includes nearly 200,000 people who have been out of work for over 12 months or have other factors making it harder for them to find a job. According to the plan, companies will be offered payments for each job seeker they are asked to find a job for and further financial rewards if they remain in employment long term. SIPTU NEC member, David Connolly, told Liberty: “It is ludicrous that the Government is intenton bringing in ‘for-profit’ companies to provide so-called job services to the long term unemployed. “What is really needed is investment in existing job services, provided on a ‘not for profit’ basis, and of course, investment in creating decent employment.” Among the companies which have stated they are bidding for a contract to operate the JobPath scheme is G4S. In its presentation G4S makes it clear that it does not intend to supply staff to work directly with job seekers but rather contract people in community and voluntary organisations to supply the service. SIPTU Community Sector Organiser, Darragh O’Connnor, said:“What will happen is that people and organisations that are already providing these services will be subcontracted to work for these companies. “The scheme will simply introduce another layer of bureaucracy that will soak up Government funding and be less accountable to job seekers and the public.” He added: “Merely making profits will be placed before an ethos of attempting to assist the long term unemployed within their communities. With the tendering process still underway there is still time for the Government to scrap this very flawed approach.” ICTU General Secretary, David Begg, has written to the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton,expressing serious reservations inrelation to the privatisation of employment services. In his letter Begg highlights the costly failure of similar privatised job schemes in the UK upon which the DSP has based its programme.