Unemployment: Lost hope searching for jobs
Global crisis likely has hit young people than adult. The latest report of the ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth 2012 still consistently demonstrates the increasing uncertainty about hope for improvement in the labour market for young people. The report shown gloomy outlook that 75 million youth aged 15 to 24 are unemployed. If we compare with 2007, the statistic was increased of 4 million. The crisis-induced withdrawal from the labour force amounts to 6.4 million young people worldwide, and is particularly pronounced in the Developed economies and European Union.
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It is also hard for young people to find jobs, if they finding a job that the only jobs they can find are in precarious conditions that make them suffer a higher risk of low income and poverty as a result. Therefore, the report of ILO also indicated that more than 150 million young people are living on less than $1.25 a day.
Indeed, the crisis has been disproportionately severe for young people around the world. Discouraged by high youth unemployment rates, many young people have given up the job. ILO also estimated that it may take 4-5 years before jobs rebound. Indeed, the economic crisis wiped out the chance of young people gains in employment, long term unemployment have also affected on losing skills and their earning potential.
Political commitment and innovative approaches are needed to youth unemployment and jobs crisis. This was also mentioned by Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese opposition political leader and Nobel Prize recipient, on her landmark speech at the International Labour Conference in Geneva on 14 June. She highlighted the plight of jobless youth. “It is not so much joblessness as hopelessness that threatens our future. Unemployed youth lose confidence in the society that has failed to give them the chance to realize their potential, “she said. She also stressed the need to equip young people with the skills needed to enter the world of work “vocational training should be linked to job creation is imperative if we are to safeguard the future by giving our youth the capacity to handle effectively that responsibility that will inevitably fall to them one day,” she said.
Growth in precarious employment
The global financial crisis has given wrongly prescription for many governments in imposing austerity as their policy measure on the economic recovery process with budget cuts. Austerity has worsen the situation that destroyed jobs creation, in Spain, the austerity measures has made a growing sense of hopeless and anger among young people that they cannot find job or if they could get job but with low pay. In Greece, to make the economy more competitive, the government pledged to cut the minimum wage and make labour markets more flexibly but resulted in weakening job security.
Young people paying the high price to the crisis and budget cuts that disproportionally affected them. Precarious work is on the increase that put them in working in long-hours, on short-term and/or informal contract, low pay, little or no social protection, minimal training and no voice at work. It not only rose in developing countries but also in the developed countries as the precarious work provide employers with “flexible’ and cheaper workforce, undermining the very concept of job security.
- young people in the European Union were four times as likely as adults to be temporary employees, with 35.2 per cent of youth employees on temporary contracts, compared with 8.9 per cent for adults (over 25 years of age);
- in developing economies, a relatively high number of young people are likely to engage in unpaid family work, starting their working life supporting informal family businesses or farms;
- nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labour across the world, in which 5.5 million (26 %) are below 18 years, trapped in jobs which they were coerced or deceived into and which they cannot leave
- These situations also happen across the public sector, where precarious works are fast becoming common that linked to public sector employment cuts, privatisation and outsourcing.
Workers with precarious employment experiencing lack of job security, working in long hours, low wages, limited control over workplace conditions, little protection from health and safety risks in the workplace and less opportunity for training and career progression. Even when directly employed, precarious workers throughout the world and across different industries are frequently denied their right to join a union or collectively bargain precisely because of their employment status.
What are the solutions?
A solution for this situation needs to be determined across sectors, and investing in young people is an opportunity to build a better world and social justice: jobs creation, improving employment conditions and the earning power of young workers. Otherwise, youth unemployment can be a “social time bomb”, as the ITUC has described in pointing out the high and rising level of youth unemployment globally, which risks damaging the social, economic and political fabric of countries around the world.
Pledged has been made and adopted to tackle jobs crisis (the document) by the ILO on its 101st session of the International Labour Conference. The document lists measures governments can take, with support from employers and workers, such as addressing skills mismatches, improving apprenticeship systems and promoting youth entrepreneurship.
Meanwhile, some efforts have been taken – for example,YEN or Youth Employment NetworkYEN is a partnership of the UN, ILO and World Bank in which the network goal is to prioritise youth employment on the development agenda and to exchange knowledge on effective policies and programmes to improve employment opportunities for youth.
In the OECD countries’ latest research, it is indicated that in the short term, a priority must be to provide income support to unemployed young people, and another promising avenue is apprenticeship for low-skilled young people, which could pay a ”double dividend”: securing the transition towards employment and lowering labour costs compensated by a training commitment from the employer. Governments could provide subsidies to promote apprenticeships and help apprentices made redundant to complete their training (source: OECD)
Thus, in this context, increasing public spending for higher education is a must; it could at least offer a chance of escaping poverty, since the probability of finding employment rises with higher levels of education. Improving public services makes a decisive contribution in the quality of life for everyone including young people; it will lead us to opportunities of our own with equal rights.
Therefore, fighting a global battle for quality public services is an important tool of democracy for a strong economy that offers democratic public services and guarantees a just workplace to its employees and society. If we aware of this, then let’s work to make a better world possible and fight to defend quality public services.
Role of unions
There is concern to trace out whether unions have strategic on the global unemployment crisis facing young people or not, in which we can found out that for number of years union membership is declining. The indicators shown that less and less workers joining the union and other factor also reveal weakening union position at economic, political and social levels.
Union is representative of class struggle, its mean that union was not merely an instrument for protecting and improving workers living standards but also to be a vehicle for changing the entire political and economic order in society.
Employers have tendencies to help the government in this endeavour by proposing neoliberal policies for competitiveness and flexible labour market to restore economic and creation of jobs. Meanwhile the unions have inability to adapt in response to the crisis, though most the members are victim of the crisis.
Despite weakening of union power and membership, it is important to remember that unions have significant roles to restore their strength and membership. Many unions has been low unionisation rates amongst young people, in fact this young people on the SOS alert and needed union to overcoming their problem.
Union movement should reflect the current realities and renewal their strategies instead of rigid policy toward organising. Giving clear support to young people needed to showing that they are not alone, involving student union on the movement also giving advantage to build foundation on organising them in future. Young people still believe in unions as agent for change, for decent life, but unions must change the way they manage and organise themselves in the current situation and for the future.
Union always do the best efforts to protect the rights and interest of workers, the unions have experience, resources and skills that can influence the economic and social policies for the interest of working people. The unions also have access to government through the social dialogue mechanism with employers to set development and implementation policies on employment and social protection.
Youth unemployment should be entered as political agenda of all union across industry and sector, in which unions have to manage the issue by providing variety of possible policy with the promotion of decent work, for example in Germany, the youth section of IG Metall has launched a campaign "Operation Übernahme" to press companies to take on their apprentices. "Operation Übernahme" is also aimed at pressing employers to offer permanent contracts to the apprentices they have trained (source: ITUC).
Union still remain good organisation tool for all working people in improving their lives, where union can challenge the power and money that threatening our democracy and social justice. “When working people have voice together, we will get stable and strong economy with continued economic growth,” said Professor Dorian Warren of Columbia University (Source: AFL-CIO)