Thursday, January 17, 2013


Togo january 2005( photo PETRUS)

Because of the growing unemployment there is a lot of talking in Europe about creating new jobs, especially for young people. The unemployment rate for young people is in many countries much higher than the average unemployment rate. The ETUC wants the European states to invest more in the economy in stead to continue its austerity measures. However, the EU decided to fight the Eurocrisis by tightening the budget control of each nation state and to make the rules on deficits stricter, so it is very difficult to convince political leaders to change.

The proposals for spending more public money to put the economy in motion are on a rather general level. For what kind of economic activities the European nations should use the public money? What special activties should be sponsored by the state to employ more young workers?What would employers do with the help of public money in case they are subsidized by the state? Will they hire young workers or invest in new means of production?

Confederal Secretary General Guy Tordeur of the Belgium Christian Trade Union in Brussels gave some ideas for employment in his article 'Work on employment' (Visie, 11 january 23013). To his opinion employers and government together have a great responsability to look for solutions for youth unemployment. “This high unemployment rate among young people is nothing new. It exists already a long time. The problem is certainly not solved by removing the unemployed from the statistics or by reducing their unemployment benefit. Work should be done to create employment, not just work for higher-skilled workers, but also for workers with limited training. Everyone has the right to quality work.”

Tordeur believes that one of the possibilities to create employment in the next future will be in the healthcare sector. Due to the aging population in the coming years tens of thousands of jobs will be needed. “Only in Flanders a report by the Flemish government talks about the need for 60,000 additional workers by 2015. The same applies to the city of Brussels. Foreign workers are not the solution to the shortage of staff in the health sector. With appropriate education and training many job seekers, even with limited training, can be employed in the healthsector. The sector itself will have to provide good quality jobs, allowing employees to continue their work.”

Togo, january 2005 ( photo  PETRUS)

Tordeur believes that another new job possibility exists “by the transformation of our society into a society that takes into account the ecological capacity of our planet. This includes a 80 to 90% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2050. That is a big challenge, but it also offers opportunities for new jobs. I am thinking, for example: home insulation, construction of energy efficient homes, building solar panels, windmills, development of more public transport, waste processing and recycling .... In the coming years this trend towards more green sectors will continue.”

What I am missing in this debate is what shoul happen in the private sector that is still responsable for the vast majority of jobs in all EU countries. According to European statistics of 2006 nearly 70% of workers earns his money in the service sector, 25% in the industrial sector and less than 5% in the agricultural sector. Only a small proportion of the workforce is employed by the government as a public official, in the national education system, police or army.

It is therefore of utmost importance that the private sector creates new jobs so that more people are employed. But how to generate more jobs in the private sector? Should one use public money for this? Should the state itself stimulate more research with the idea to develop new technologies for production and services? Should be lowered tax rates on labor and taxes higher on capital? Must be diminished bureaucratic control, rules and regulations for private enterprises? Should the government invest in roads, canals, air and seaports?

Must there be made radical changes in the wage structure like has been done in Germany some years ago? What to do with the idea to lower the wages of senior wokers, to make it possible for companies to hire young workers? Must there be less protection by law against dismissal of workers as is proposed by employers? Is more flex working a solution for companies to answer faster and more efficient to the changes on the market? How should social protection be organized under such circumstances. Many questions and not yet enough answers but time is running out. For a society it is dangerous to leave aside too long the younger people.

1 comment:

  1. In my view, society has a responsibility to the youth. And the society is not just the governements, but also the employers and the employees.
    Empoyers and employees, empoyers organizations and trade unions should create more additional jobs in the private sector, special for starters on the labour market.