Participant in the ETUC Youth Rally 2013. Photo: ETUC
Europe’s young workers have our own solutions to the jobs crisis.
There are nearly six million young people unemployed in Europe currently, and one in every three is in a precarious employment situation. Although there is widespread agreement that young working-age people are facing a crisis, there is not such an understanding when it comes to find its causes.
The European Commission and many Member States focus on understanding the problem of youth unemployment problem as a question of the offer, i.e. that the causes are in young people themselves (either in their skills or in their contracting conditions).
But at the ETUC we contend it’s a problem of demand. Only by identifying strategic sectors and having an ambitious investment plan can we create sustainable jobs, both in terms of quality and respect for the environment. We’re pushing for a widespread change of European policy in this direction, under our new campaign “A new path for Europe“.
The transition to a low carbon and resource-efficient society potentially offers many opportunities in new jobs, skills and sectors – ideally suited to young workers. We’re proposing an investment target of 2% of EU GDP to give our economies a new start based on sustainable growth.
The ETUC Youth Committee is heavily involved in this campaign. Our Committee is composed of young representatives from the 95 organizations affiliating to the ETUC. The Committee members work on political issues affecting the working and life conditions of European youth, and their opinion gets conveyed to the upper structures of the ETUC by the Committee’s Youth President, who sits on the ETUC Executive Committee and by other members, taking part in the ETUC ad hoc working groups.
In 2014 we will be launching a European Commission supported project to engage young trade unionists across Europe in this “new path”, and to influence European decision-making bodies around our proposals.
The involvement of social partners in the design and implementation of new initiatives has historically been a key principle of European politics, and is more relevant now than ever. This means young people and their organisations especially have a strong role to play in European solutions to the unemployment crisis, and the ETUC’s Youth Committee stands ready to play their part.