Gateway Gangsters

To the former minister Joan Burton,

As a member of one of your Gateway Schemes I would like to thank you for the great opportunity to experience what it is like to belong to the Irish workforce. And, hopefully after next week, what it will be like for many years to come if you and your party are elected, or, for that matter, any of the other “Big Four Parties”. Thank you for putting me in my place as one of your submissive statistics. I’m glad I could help manipulate those unemployment figures you’ve been brandishing about. I’m delighted to be part of the recovery, delighted to help the greater good. This must be what Connolly, Larkin and O’Brien felt back in the day. You must be so proud of what your Labour Party represents these days.

“Gateway – Local Authority Labour Activation Scheme.

Gateway was announced in Budget 2013 and is a County and City Council work placement scheme designed to provide short-term working opportunities for unemployed people. The scheme is intended to assist the personal and social development of participants by providing short-term work opportunities with the objective of bridging the gap between unemployment and re-entering the workforce. The types of projects to be worked on under Gateway include (but are not limited to) the following; Village Enhancement Schemes, Landscaping, Tourism Ambassadors, Control of animals, Libraries.”

Deplorable Working Conditions:

I think it’s great that men and women have to share the same changing facilities. I’ve heard of locker rooms… but surely they’d just waste more of the taxpayers money. Who needs to change clothes in private anyway? Who needs separate facilities for eating, changing and drying wet clothes? Who needs dignity? Who needs clean, filtered drinking water to wash away the thirst after a few hours working? Sure having the unfiltered stuff is great craic. All the money paid to Irish Water is clearly paying off. I developed bugs in my stomach from drinking the tap water provided by my local council and spent a week off work fully paid. GO ON THE RECOVERY!

Thanks to the majority of full-time and “proper workers” and to our glorious superiors who have stripped myself and many of my colleagues of a full-days pay for following procedure and correctly reporting lateness, sickness and force majeure. We followed correct procedure laid out by our local council AND employment law and still were stripped of a full-days pay. Thanks for not listening, SIPTU. Thanks for not fighting our corner. Thanks to my local council for not paying me for following correct procedure. Sure what would I do with a full-day’s pay but spend it on rent and food and bills. Sure isn’t it better going back into the local council’s coffers. GO ON THE RECOVERY!

The Grim Facts:

A big thanks to SIPTU as well. Thanks for telling my colleagues and I on our first day that “no person taking part in a Gateway Scheme will be out of pocket. The twenty euro top-up we will be receiving is “NOT for travel”. Thanks for that rousing speech, SIPTU, it has helped alleviate the discomfort I’ve felt in my back pocket due to having a lighter wallet each week. Apparently bugs in my stomach is just what I need to help my community, not my local one mind, the one in which I have to travel to and from each working day. My colleagues and I spend a few quid each week on petrol, bus fares and train tickets. It’s great craic. GO ON THE RECOVERY!

I’m taking home less money now than when I was unemployed, so thank you for the right to work. Thank you for showing me that I am financially better off not working, than getting up each morning and trudging off to a job. It’s all great craic. Thanks SIPTU. Thanks for NOT fighting for your fellow, paid-up, SIPTU members. Thanks for not treating us as equals. Thanks for not returning our calls. Thanks for your lack of communication. Thanks for your disdain. Thanks for tearing another strip of dignity away from unemployed people. Big Jim would be so proud. GO ON THE RECOVERY!

The Crontract Lies:

Having never dealt with or read or signed a contract before in my life, a big thank you goes out to my local council, I now know that the contents of a contract are worthless. I now understand the expression “It’s not worth the paper it’s written on” thanks for the education, lads. I now know I can just put my name to a contract and not have to fulfil any of it’s terms. It’s great craic. I’m off to the bank tomorrow to apply for a loan and not bother to pay it back. That’s the new skill I must have been promised in my contract. Thanks lads. GO ON THE RECOVERY!

Gateway to a worse situation:

To sum up, Joan, after my experiences in this Gateway scheme, what has become abundantly clear to myself is what to expect when I enter into the workforce in England or Canada or Australia- as most of my family and friends are scattered around these places.

I now know to leave my dignity, or what’s left of it, at the door. To accept the lies from my employers, elected union officials and governmental “leaders”. To embrace the feeling of cattle held up in a holding-pen. Just accept it. Don’t fight it or expect anyone to help. Embrace being a submissive statistic. That’s what you want for us. I can see that now, Joan. We’re only happy to sit back and help you manipulate those figures for your own cause. Happy to help you mess with peoples lives for your own gain. That’s Labour “Standing up for working families” and “Standing up for Ireland’s future”. GO ON THE RECOVERY!

At the end of the day it was my choice to sign the “contract” laid out for me and it is my choice now whether I break it and if I do, then have the money I am entitled to under Irish Law taken away from me. I accept it. I accept the THREAT to my income. I accept the threat to my livelihood. I accept your abuse of life, Joan. I accept being a submissive statistic. GO ON THE RECOVERY!

Yours sincerely,

Submissive Statistic #352

PS: A GENUINE thank you to the general public for your positive feedback on the work carried out by myself and my colleagues in improving OUR community.

PPS: The “work” carried out by many Gateways Scheme members is work which your local council’s permanent employees have REFUSED to carry out for YEARS. GO ON THE RECOVERY


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