• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

PreCaRIousneSs spells crisIS for young workers everywhere

E-mail Print PDF

JOC Europe in action to guarantee a "tomorrow"!

Do you know if you will be working tomorrow? Are you sure you'll have a job, a place to live, an income to allow yourself to be independent and make decisions about your life? Well, millions of young workers around the world don't really have any certainty about their future. Employment that lasts from between a few hours to a few months, is a daily reality for too many young workers. Is it really too much to ask to have a contract of work that lasts for more than a day or a week? Is it possible to have a social system accessible to all, that protects us from unemployment and insecurity? After all, the UN Declaration of Human Rights tell us that "Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment." (Article 23). The young workers we've spoken to would like the chance to have a little more certainty and security in their lives, and for this reason, we've decided to take action.

Where did this plan come from?

For several years, the International YCW (IYCW) has been developing analysis and action in response to the different realities faced by young workers everywhere, in all types of employment: young people working without contracts in the informal economy; young women workers - facing discrimination and insecurity; unemployed and apprentices - facing difficulties to enter the labour force, and young workers in temporary and precarious working conditions, facing limited employment possibilities. These different international experiences of life and work, have been helping us here in Europe to develop our focus for action - our starting point for changing the world! What we've discovered through our action and collection of testimonies of young workers, is a common key concern: labour precariousness and its influence on young workers' lives. Young workers - as interim labourers, as migrants, unemployed, as temporary workers - live the daily insecurity of not knowing when they might work again, or how to guarantee an income to meet their basic needs.

'We don't have access to the protection we need'

"The boss told me that he would give me a contract starting from the first day. I signed the contract one of the last days. Now I discovered that he didn't register me in the Social Security with my first contract (which was a full time contract), but with a part-time contract."

- Anita, 26, Spain

We face fear and insecurity in our daily lives'

"False work, de-professionalisation, the abuse of debutants, formation that doesn't exist, lack of professionalism, lack of materials and staff; and if this doesn't seem already precarious, we can speak about contract and salary as well, not about contract, because there was no contract"

- Chus, 27, Spain

'We need work to get experience, and online slots experience to get work!'

"I need the chance to have a job to get the experience. Now I feel dispensable because I have no experience. I've been as flexible as possible regarding conditions, job distance, hours (I'll accept all kinds of shifts), education (willing to learn about the job for a long period of time), and I've subscribed to all interim offices "

- Jan, 21 years, Belgium

'We have dreams and expectations that are unfulfilled'

"My biggest wish is a residence permit! I was born in Germany 18 years ago. My parents flew from Kosovo to Germany before I was born. They escaped because we are Roma. Still, I have an exceptional leave. I have been living with this status all my life. I do not have any permission to work. It means that I have to ask for exceptional leave every three months. If they refuse, I will be sent to Kosovo. Roma people are killed in Kosovo."

- Samantha, 19, Germany

Experiences such as these, exist within a global context and form the basis of the action plan of of our international movement. Therefore our European plan fits within a global objective of the International YCW (IYCW)....

"To contribute to the development of Social Protection for all young workers"

For the IYCW, this objective of "social protection" is not just about implementing laws and policies. It's about creating a society that lives the value of solidarity, especially....

  • to have the right to JUST working conditions and respect for labour rights
  • to have the right to a permanent job with a just salary that allows young workers independently
  • to live in gender equality
  • to have quality education that prepares young people for work and life,

In Europe the young workers we have met, tell us that they want....

  • to have a job contract
  • to have a stable job
  • to have certainty in their lives

So we've put together a plan of work that's about creating a world that allows young workers to live with the possibility of making decisions about their lives, to have a sense of independence, and to make a contribution to the development of our society.

Following the YCW method of SEE, JUDGE, ACT, we'll start with a collection of facts of life - testimonies of young workers living precarious situations as unemployed, temporary workers, migrants, interim labourers and workers without contracts. We aim to collect the stories of a gender balanced representation of young workers. In the coming year, we plan to hold exchanges between young workers during which we will define our demands and develop a common action to present our demands to decision makers at all levels.

You're welcome to join us, and in fact, we not only want you to join us, but we need your participation! Young workers have dreams. Young workers are creative, and have a huge capacity to create change, but the world won't change unless we act together! For more information on how you can get involved, contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it