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Today, the European Youth Forum and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), during their joint conference on youth employment at the European Economic and Social Committee, called for good quality jobs for young people.
Over recent years, since the onset of the crisis and the continuation of austerity measures, not only has access to the labour market become more difficult for young people, but the availability of stable, good quality jobs for young workers has also decreased, leading to poverty and social exclusion becoming a harsh reality for a whole generation of young people.
With youth unemployment currently standing at 20.7% in the European Union, today’s conference brought together youth organisations and young trade unionists to discuss with MEPs, European Commission representatives and economists what is being done to address youth unemployment, precarious work and social exclusion and the role that recent EU proposals can play.
Two panel discussions centered on how the Investment Plan can be used to create quality jobs for youth, and what such quality jobs entail – with participants proposing various solutions, including:
- Investment in youth: The EU Investment Plan must prioritise investment in sectors that are job-rich and have potential to create quality jobs for young people. If projects for investments are carefully selected 2.1 million new jobs could be created by 2018.
- An end to the “any-job-will-do” approach - jobs should allow young people to live a life in dignity and to become autonomous – precarious working conditions should be eliminated.
- Social issues related to employment and social protection should be more effectively addressed – young people’s access to social benefits must be non-discriminatory; measures that address poverty and social exclusion among young people, with full involvement of trade unions and youth organisations in reaching out to those that are the hardest-to-reach.
- Labour mobility – portability of social rights should be ensured. Migration must be on a voluntary basis.
- Entrepreneurship – support should be given to young people that want to start their own business with measures to facilitate access to credit and ensure social security for young entrepreneurs.
Johanna Nyman, President of the European Youth Forum says:
“Investment in creating jobs of good quality for young people is now urgent! Europe’s leaders must step up to the mark and make sure that there are not only more jobs, but that the conditions under which young people are working are fair. With 42% of young people on temporary contracts versus 11% of the rest of the population, this is clearly not the case. Young people in non-standard work have lower wages, tend to receive less training and have less job security than workers in a standard job. The European Investment Plan is an opportunity to reverse this trend that has continued now for too long – and to finally stop putting Europe’s youth and future at risk.”
Veronica Nilsson, ETUC Confederal Secretary says:
“Five million young people in Europe are currently unemployed and this must be seriously addressed by EU leaders. Quality job creation is a vital issue for the well-being of younger generations. The idea that education and training alone could solve the problem has shown its limits and a change of direction is needed. Europe must completely turn the page on austerity and budgetary cuts: job creation through investment in the real economy must be at the centre of the EU’s growth strategy. Offering quality jobs to young people is a fundamental aspect of the fairer society that European trade unions are fighting for.”