Young people shouldn’t learn the hard way!


Call to EU institutions and national governments to protect workers now and in the future.


The ETUC Youth Committee is deeply concerned about the spread of coronavirus throughout Europe, particularly in countries such as Italy.  Such concerns relate to the repercussions this is having on the lives of thousands of people, as well as on economic activities, employment and the social dimension and resilience of the entire European Union. 

The Youth Committee fully supports and endorses the statement made on this matter in the last ETUC Executive Committee.   It is essential that Europe shoulders its responsiblity and shows its support by taking all necessary measures to stop and contain the spread of the virus, and to manage the health and economic effects of this unprecedented pandamic.

In this context, as young European trade unionists, we consider it a priority that all actions should be taken to protect the health of citizens and workers and to ensure that no one citizen or country is left alone to manage this crisis and its consequences on public finances, public services and, ultimately, the well-being of each European.

The health of workers is an absolute priority that must precede any other economic or productive consideration. Working in safety and protecting health in the workplace to defeat the Virus are essential to relaunch, as soon as possible, our economies and defend employment. In these unprecedented moments  it is essential that all players unite behind a purpose, with responsibility and social cohesion. Europe must now show its support more than ever, by implementing coordinated measures to urgently sustain the economies of Europe, through the loosening of the fiscal rules on the Stability Pact and State aid so that all the necessary measures can be taken. We now must put people before markets! There is an urgent need for accessible funding and incentives to help people and small companies most affected by the crisis. The large companies, on the other hand, can't be allowed to easily let go of their staff and provoke a domino effect that will put an entire generation of Europeans at risk. This is the time when precariousness caused by atypical forms of work, social protection system crippled by austerity measures and bogus contracts, shows its true colours.

Protection of workers must be realised both in the workplace and in the labour market by adequate support and measures to avoid any implication on health.  Safeguarding workers income is also imperative. Therefore, the Youth Committee reaffirms the importance of social dialogue and the involvement of trade unions at all levels.  This is at the core of the European social model.  It is social dialogue that can ensure full and effective health protection, adapt company organisation and production rhythms to safeguard the greatest possible safety and essential continuation of production and, in general, to help define the various measures on the productive, employment and social sides, going through this difficult period sustainably.

To safeguard the health and income of workers in this dramatic phase, the Youth Committee highlights the types of atypical and precarious workers who, in some countries, are already suffering heavy consequences of this crisis, such as those working in the tourism, entertainment and sports sectors. Workers, young and not so young, who have lost their jobs from one day to the next and who find themselves without adequate social security protection and bleak prospects for the future. For these type of workers, the ETUC Youth calls for particular attention both at European and national level so that answers can be found to meet their needs and requirements, starting from income and going onto issues related to social protection, avoiding the danger that these people will be doubly penalised by this very serious situation.

ETUC Youth remains committed to fight against the precariousness of young people and regrets that thousands of workers will now pay the price of the neverending chase of economic growth that opposes the principle of well-being of citizens as well as a sustainable planet. ETUC Youth and its affiliates will accompany workers in this difficult phase and will fight for measures on both National and European level that will protect workers safety.  It will also bring forward the voice of workers in the rethinking of the economic model that the current situation clearly shows works only for a few and not for all!

ETUC Youth Calls for:

  • A universal social protection system for young people regardless of the type or length of working contract or working arrangement in case of atypical work.
  • Profound reflection about the economic and production system.  ETUC Youth calls on EU institutions and political leaders to start a debate on alternative indicators that put sustainability, social criteria and well-being of people at the centre of that debate. We are now witnessing daily how unfair and dysfunctional our system is.
  • Strong public investments to protect jobs and allow the creation of quality jobs. The previous financial crisis followed by austerity measures left our strategic services weakened to cope with the unprecedented situation member states are now facing. WE WILL NOT ACCEPT AUSTERITY AS A SOLUTION!