A Wexford Councillor has called on the government to extend the CE scheme to involve a structured training programme with view of permanent employment in local authorities as a replacement for the new gateway scheme. Cllr Anthony Kelly branded gateway as being slave labour and said that it was morally wrong to force people to work for less than a €1 an hour in a scheme that would not guarantee proper full time employment at the end.
"It seems the government is looking at Nazi Germany for tips on how to run the economy," The Sinn Féin rep said, "Perk up the underfunded local authorities with forced labour to avoid having to pay a proper wage to full time council staff seems to be the game. No matter what those people on their high horses in the government parties say, it is morally wrong to take a put an unemployed person to work for less than €1 an hour in a job that they have no say in and that holds absolutely no promise of full time, proper paid employment."
"In 1931 this state ratified the C29 Forced Labour Convention. Its object and purpose is to suppress the use of forced labour in all its forms irrespective of the nature of the work or the sector of activity in which it may be performed. The Convention defines forced labour as 'all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily'. The Gateway scheme clearly violates this internationally recognised convention."
"The CE scheme could be extended to allow for proper on the job training for the unemployed who could then take up full time work in the local authorities. This could be done without exploiting the candidates and would benefit both the worker and the local authority in the long run."