Quality jobs are key for a fair and inclusive recovery

In her 2021 State of the Union address, European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that the year 2022 will be dedicated to youth. IndustriAll Europe welcomes this initiative that aims to raise awareness of the difficult situation of young people, who have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Our young members hope that this will not be just a communication exercise, but that the Commission is also planning concrete initiatives to improve the situation of young people on the labour market. So far, no such (new) initiative has been announced.

The 70 young unionists present in Warsaw reported on the disproportionate expansion of precarious work and extreme flexibilisation of work over the past years. These affect mostly young people trying to enter the labour market.

IndustriAll Europe’s young members demand that EU institutions and national governments put in place legislation to limit precarious work. Concretely this means limiting agency work and short-term contracts. Precarity is the sad enemy of democracy, because it brings uncertainty and reduces trust in institutions. In times of growing right-wing populism and far-right movements, policymakers must show responsibility and put in place policies to regain the trust of citizens.

IndustriAll Europe’s young members are committed to fight together against precarious work, but they also want to get involved in debates that go beyond youth employment. They want to have their say in discussions on Just Transition and digitalisation, especially since they will be the ones working in the green and digital industries of tomorrow. They demand more inclusion and better involvement in trade union work at all levels.IndustriAll Europe is committed to answering the demands of its youth members and a Youth Action Plan is in the pipeline, the implementation of which will begin during the European Year of Youth.

Isabelle Barthes, industriAll Europe’s Deputy General Secretary, said:

“Over the past years, young people have shown a great sense of social justice and willingness to contribute to the improvement of society. Their involvement in social movements, like Fridays for Future, Black Lives Matter or #MeToo, has been remarkable. Yes, trade unions are the structure for young people and, yes, young people do have a place in the movement!

We are looking to the European Year of Youth with great expectation, especially towards the European Commission. Our younger members have clearly said that what they need is an ‘Employment Guarantee’ after finishing their education and training. We will continue to demand concrete solutions to ensure quality jobs for all workers. Quality jobs are key for a fair and inclusive recovery and for a just green and digital transition.”

*The event was organised with the support of the Competence Center of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, based in Brussels, Belgium. This event is also a direct continuation of industriAll Europe’s ‘Digital Youth Academy’, which took place online between September-November 2021, in partnership with the International Training Center of the International Labour Organisation (Turin, Italy).

Contact: Andrea Husen-Bradley (press and communication), Patricia Velicu (policy adviser)