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Action needed to reduce alarming levels of youth unemployment
EFBWW is one of several trade union organisations that have jointly sent a letter to the European Commission on 12 May, urging it to take more action to reduce the dramatic levels of youth unemployment across the EU. Currently, the EU average for youth unemployment stands at over 20% and is up to nearly 60% in some countries such as Greece and Spain.

Job creation is one of the European Commission’s top priorities. The letter asks European Commission President Juncker and his services to meet the trade union youth officials to discuss the dire reality facing young workers and job seekers. During such a meeting, the elected officials would like to present the goals of its ‘back2ourfuture’ campaign to tackle youth unemployment.

The joint letter has been signed by the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers, the European Trade Union Confederation, IndustriAll, the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions, the European Federation of Public Service Unions, the European Transport Workers’ Federation and UNI Europa.

The joint letter by these trade unions can be read by clicking here.
A joint declaration by the same trade unions can be read by clicking here.

One of the key questions the letter asks European Commission President Juncker is: “How will you ensure that the newly created employment will be of high quality and not precarious jobs? Since the outbreak of the economic crisis, almost four million jobs have been lost in the manufacturing sector. Recovery has been sluggish and newly created employment can be mostly found in low-pay sectors with precarious working conditions. Young workers and job seekers are particularly affected.

So far, the EU’s only response has been to set up the so-called Youth Guarantee, which is an assurance that every worker under 25 entering the labour market will receive a concrete offer of employment or training within four months. The concept looks good on paper but is hopelessly underfunded and has yet to deliver any results. A mere €6 billion have been set aside over a seven year period, while the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates the costs of setting up an effective Youth Guarantee at €21 billion per year. The letter calls on the Commission and EU member states to reexamine the design of the Youth Guarantee and its effective implementation and to prioritise direct and transparent measures to reduce youth unemployment.