The PCP, continuing the campaign “More Strength to Workers”, carried out in the context of the preparation of the XI Regional Congress of the PCP, which will take place on the next 25th and 26th of February, was this Tuesday at the premises of the Employment Institute of Madeira to defend an end to the abusive use of Temporary Occupation Programs for Unemployed People (POTs) to replace permanent work needs.

During the course of the initiative, deputy Ricardo Lume stressed that the reduction in the number of unemployed in the Region is being achieved on the basis of job insecurity, low wages and “the so-called active employment policies, which are implemented not to guarantee the integration of workers in a situation of unemployment in the labor market, but which serve to camouflage the unemployment figures, as well as to enhance the exploitation of those who are in a situation of fragility”.

The deputy reveals that the Employment Institute in its annual report states that, in the year 2021, 5,800 unemployed people were covered by “employment programs”, of which 3,135 were in occupational programs, 2,037 in employment and training programs and 656 in programs to encourage the creation of companies and jobs, that is, these workers automatically leave the numbers of unemployment statistics.

“However, the most serious thing is that it is the Regional Government itself that uses the POTs to ensure the operation of a wide range of public services, but also of private non-profit associations”, he indicates.

Ricardo Lume mentions that job programs for the unemployed and professional internships have served to fill in permanent job needs.

“These are workers who, being unemployed, for a maximum period of twelve months, if they are under 55 years old or a maximum period of 24 months, if they are over 55 years old, ensure the operation of a wide range of public services, but also non-profit private associations”, he stresses.

“These workers do not have any labor rights, they are not entitled to holidays, holiday subsidy and Christmas subsidy. They take home a subsidy of 430 euros a month, to work 30 hours a week paid by the Employment Institute and the ‘framework entity’ which is the one who benefits from the work carried out by these unemployed workers pays only the meal subsidy and in some cases the value of the public transport pass”, he emphasizes.

Ricardo Lume also says that these workers “after a year are replaced by another unemployed worker, with exactly the same conditions”, stressing that this “is a new form of slavery in modern times”.

The deputy mentions the existence of unemployed people who, over the last ten years, have already participated in seven POTs, responding to permanent work needs, but who always remain unemployed.

“This reality distorts the main objective of these programs, which is to integrate the unemployed worker into the labor market, and we see that they are only serving to prevent the creation of jobs, as there is an army of unemployed people willing to work to be entitled to a subsidy much lower than the minimum wage, on the other hand the Municipalities, the Regional Government and private non-profit associations have access to labor practically for free”, he highlights.

In this sense, the parliamentarian stresses that these programs cannot be just another form of exploitation and camouflage of the true numbers of unemployment, and realizes that the PCP has scheduled to be discussed and voted on in the Plenary of the Legislative Assembly of Madeira this week Draft Resolution to put an end to the abusive use of the Unemployed Occupation Programs to replace permanent job needs.

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