ETUC Open Letter to MEPs: Ban Unpaid Internships

Dear Members of the European Parliament,

Europe is fighting another round of deadly pandemic while the consequences of the previous waves are taking a high toll on our citizens. The inflation paired with the slow (if any) increase in wages is driving social inequalities to extremes.

Young people have already been identified as those who suffer unprecedented consequences in the form of skyrocketing unemployment and precarious work and therefore we have welcomed the initiative of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee to put forward a resolution on Empowering European Youth, that would address the concrete steps that can improve the lives of young people and young workers in Europe.

The credibility of the European Institutions to lead Europe out of the crisis is on the line and for this reason, we believe that the resolution must be ambitious and propose concrete and binding solutions to improve the lives of young workers.

Work is work, and it must be paid! Using young and experienced workers as cheap labour in name of upskilling has long been tolerated but it has no place in the recovery period. Imposing binding quality criteria on internships is a fair way to ensure equal access to the labour market for young people regardless of their socio-economic background.

Young workers deserve quality jobs and decent wages and the effective and enforceable ban on unpaid internships is one of the long-overdue promises on which now, also with the impetus from the European Year of Youth, we have a chance to deliver. We hope that all of you will support this important demand during the plenary vote. We remain available for any further clarifications.

In Solidarity,
Ludovic Voet
ETUC Confederal Secretary

Tea Jarc
President ETUC Youth Committee