Youth, Romania, Ireland, Europe, Bulgaria
Members of EPSU's young workers' network were active at the federation's Quality Employment conference last week, chairing debates and putting together a panel to discuss the key issues they are trying to address. Zahra Yusifli from Azerbaijan and Sven De Guise from Belgium chaired the discussions on digitalisation and low pay, while Zahra was also involved in the young workers' panel with Joe O'Connor from Ireland and Judit Zsigo from Hungary. They underlined the need for trade unions to look at how they communicated with young workers and what they were doing not just recruit them but also
Public service unions, including Fórsa and SIPTU, have met with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for discussions on dealing more rapidly with the problem of pay equity for new entrants to the public service. In the pay changes implemented as part of austerity measures in 2011, two additional points were added to the first two pay grades for new starters. This means that they need two more years to reach the top of their pay grades compared to higher grades. The unions argue that with economic growth and higher tax revenues, it should be possible to tackle this issue in advance
The ETUC reports that it has successfully negotiated and lobbied for a Recommendation by the European Council that sets out a number of measures to improve apprenticeships. These include:involving social partners in the design, governance and implementation of apprenticeship systems; a written agreement on learning and working conditions; a call for apprentices to be paid in line with national or sectoral requirements or collective agreements; and that they should be entitled to social protection, including necessary insurance in line with national legislation.
The European Commission has published its annual review of Employment and Social Developments which has a focus on intergenerational issues. The review notes the slow decline in unemployment but underlines that there remain major problems in some countries around youth unemployment while young workers in employment are more likely to face precarious employment conditions. At the other end of the age spectrum the Commission continues to focus on trends to higher effective retirement ages and the need, as it sees it, to increase retirement ages.