European Trade Union Federations launch campaign to reclaim youth’s future

7 Mar 2014

“Enough of their crisis – back to our future”

On Friday 7 March 2014, in the run up to the European elections in May, the European trade union federations’ youth organisations launched a joint campaign calling on the EU institutions and employers to put youth at the top of their agenda. Under the slogan “Enough of their crisis – back to our future”, the ETUFs have set out their demands for the next European Parliament and Commission mandate period: immediate and effective action to release the mortgage on young people’s future in the European labour market resulting from the European crisis and policies.

The launch of the campaign took place at a UNI Europa youth seminar in Athens. The choice of Greece, the country with the highest youth unemployment rate in Europe – 57.3% in July 2013 – demonstrates the high sense of urgency of the ETUFs demands for European youth policies.

Actions at the workplace and EU level
With the creation of the “Youth Guarantee”, the EU has set aside €6 billion for the coming 7 years to stimulate youth employment. However, as stated in the ETUF joint declaration, an estimated cost of €21 billion per year to set up an effective tool without any enforcement measures for implementation at national level means that the EU’s promise remains far from adequate when it comes to tackling youth employment challenges.

On behalf of 30 million workers in Europe, the ETUFs have responded with this joint youth campaign involving actions at workplace and at EU levels, aimed at bringing eight focal points for future EU youth policies to the attention of all candidates in the European elections.

Investment in quality jobs and training opportunities
Young people in today’s Europe face never-ending internships, precarious employment situations and the necessity to migrate to other EU countries in order to find work. The increase of the pensionable age and reduced access to training and education thanks to the austerity measures that have stalled public investment and caused social hardship throughout Europe means that 7.5 million young people are currently out of work or training, at an estimated cost of €150 billion in terms of benefits paid out and lost output.

Failing banks have received more than €160 billion to date. This shows that the victims of the crisis are getting pennies while the culprits are offered the keys to the vault”, states the Declaration.

It is our common understanding that the creation of quality jobs and training opportunities has to be the number one priority of the newly elected Parliament and Commission,” say the European Trade Union Federations.

A long-term campaign for long-term solutions
The ETUF youth organisations will continue pushing the EU institutions and employers into putting youth at the top of their agenda, via various actions, in the run-up to the European elections in May and after the installation of the new European Parliament and Commission. The lack of decisive action by the European institutions so far and the extensive and long-lasting consequences of youth unemployment in Europe necessitate a long-term campaign to claim back the future of our young people. The ETUFs’ actions and demands are complementary to those set out in the European Trade Union Confederation’s plan for investment, sustainable growth and quality jobs.

The ETUF youth organisations have produced a video to launch the campaign, which you can see here.

A video of the flash mob organised at the campaign launch in Athens can be watched here.

For more information, please contact:

EFBWW: Werner Buelen +32 (0)475 84 06 48 or
EFFAT: Dominique Mitchell +32 (0)490 56 94 05 or
EPSU: Pablo Sanchez +32 (0)474 62 66 33 or
ETF: Koen Reynaerts +32 (0)470 93 05 90 or
industriAll Europe: +32 (0)473 865 884 or
Uni Europa: +32 (0)476 25 76 50 or

The European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) is the European Industry Federation for the construction industry, the building materials industry, the wood and furniture industry and the forestry industry. The EFBWW has 72 affiliated unions in 31 countries and represents a total of 2,350,000 members.

EFFAT is the European Federation of Trade Unions in the Food, Agriculture and Tourism sectors representing 2.6 million members from 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries

EPSU is the European Federation of Public Service Unions and comprises 8 million public service workers from over 265 trade unions.

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) represents more than 2.5 million transport workers from 243 transport unions and 41 European countries, in the following sectors: railways, road transport and logistics, maritime transport, inland waterways, civil aviation, ports & docks, tourism and fisheries.

industriAll European Trade Union represents 7.1 million workers across supply chains in manufacturing, mining and energy sectors on the European level.

UNI Europa unites national trade unions organising in service and skills sectors in 50 different countries. With 320 affiliated trade union organisations, UNI Europa represents 7 million workers.