#WorkMustPay in the Belly of the Beast

Two #WorkMustPay activists were part of a delegation to the EU Commission in Brussels about Youth Unemployment on the 30th of June. They went to learn more about the Pan-European approach and policy on youth unemployment – the Youth Guarantee, how effective (if at all) it has been and if alternatives were being discussed. Find the Irish Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan here.

The Youth Guarantee states that every person under 25 years old must be provided with a job, apprenticeship, training or educational opportunity within 4 months of becoming unemployed – Ireland’s answer to this is funneling the EU funding supplied for this project into the like of the JobBridge scheme. Ireland isn’t the only country to use the excuse of the Youth Guarantee to exploit young workers through unpaid labour. Through the course of the four meetings that were held over the day it became clear that the YG had be a catastrophic failure, but no new alternatives were being discussed and there was no willingness to force the removal of unpaid and exploitative internships. Find the list of speakers and their key points below – Presentation links to hopefully follow.

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Tom Vrijens, who is ETUC’s Youth Committee Bureau member and ACV-CSV National Youth Officer in Brussels, spoke to the delegation on; the role that the Trade Union movement and the ETUC in particular played in the creation of the Youth Guarantee, its failings like issues with securing funding – the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said at least €21 billion would be needed for effective and quality implementation of the Guarantee, whereas the EU has only allocated €6 billion, as well as the problem with getting accurate figures on the “reduction” (emigration and inacurate live register figures re: Jobbridge and Gateway) of numbers of the unemployed/employed.

Marianna Georgallis, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator to the European Youth Forum, touched on the failings of the Youth Guarantee as well: Each country has varying structures in place for youth unemployment and some are more suited than others but all were lacking, lack of oversight of how the YG is being implemented which leaves issues of youth exploitation unanswered, issues with funding and finally how the Youth Guarantee has not placed a single young person in permanent employment.

Anita Vella and Brian Barron, European Commission – Sectorial employment challenges, youth employment and entrepreneurship, were the only ones to defend the YG but seemed unable to counter criticism and admitted it was an easily and commonly exploited scheme.

Stefan Gran of the German trade union congress, DGB, ended the day by speaking on one of the pre-existing routes to secure employment in Germany – the dual education/apprenticeship system; how effective they are, how they link into the job market, further education and getting the employer to pay.

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