Youth employment at heart of European social dialogue
By Sophie Petitjean | Thursday 29 March 2012
In the context of the economic and social crisis, the European social partners – BusinessEurope, the European Centre of Employers and Enterprises Providing Public services (CEEP) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) – are focusing their work on employment and youth over the next three years. Such is the conclusion that can be drawn from their joint work programme, which was officially presented to the press, on 29 March. The programme contains eight key priorities on youth employment, labour markets, gender equality, education and lifelong training and learning, mobility and economic migration, the implementation of social dialogue instruments, supporting social partner organisations, and controlling the social and economic governance of the EU.
ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Ségol said: “This programme shows the importance of social dialogue and deals with key problems, such as employment, youth employment, equality, etc. If we don’t find a solution to the current problems, we will be faced with social dismantling and rejection of the EU”. Philippe de Buck, director-general of BusinessEurope, commented: “Employers are committed to modernising European labour markets in order to overcome structural weaknesses and achieve more growth and jobs”. Andrea Benassi, secretary-general of UEAPME, and Valeria Ronzitti, acting general secretary of CEEP also backed this approach.
EIGHT KEY PRIORITIES
Firstly, the social partners commit to taking stock of the situation young people are faced with, namely by focusing on the link between education, young people’s expectations and the labour market; as well as assessing the functioning of the labour market, by tackling both short-term challenges resulting from the crisis and structural problems. From this basis, they will draw conclusions and address concrete recommendations to the member states and to the EU institutions.
The social partners will then work on education and lifelong training and learning, focusing on skills for a ‘gree’n economy and keeping the older workers’ skills up to date in the context of the extension of working life. They will also continue to call for gender equality and the integration of migrant workers on the labour market and in the work place.
Lastly, the UEAPME, BusinessEurope, CEEP and ETUC will fight for the smooth functioning of social dialogue at national and European level. They will ensure that EU social dialogue instruments have more impact and/or ensure their implementation, they will support the reinforcement of social partners’ capabilities, including that of social partners on the Southern Mediterranean. Furthermore, they will start a discussion with the aim of defining a common vision of the consequences on the European and national social dialogue of the current debate on European economic governance – a discussion that could lead to recommendations.. n.