More than 100 young Trade Unionists of the service industry from all over Europe gather in Albufeira, Portugal from February 6-8 to discuss impact of crisis on them.

"Young people are getting the best education ever, are mobile and flexible yet they still miss out on good jobs", says Martina Hartung, president of UNI Europa Youth. “Europe is going the wrong way. This conference will be an opportunity to highlight again and again that urgent action is needed to address the plight affecting our young people.” She added.

In all European countries youth unemployment hits record high. Young people are the first to get fired and are left with a limited option of temporary, precarious and bad paid jobs. UNI Europa youth calls for more investment in creating jobs for youth so that they are left with a future to look up to.

Mini jobs or internships without rights or proper payment create insecurity, fear and hopelessness. Fear often leads to hatred and opens the door for racist, anti-Semitic and extreme right-wing politics. UNI sends out a clear signal against any form of discrimination, inequality and right wing tendencies. Democratic rights and Trade Union rights have to be part of the overall basic rights in the European Union.

Greece was represented by Giota Dandoulaki, who was elected substitute coordinator for the Mediterranean area. In the speech she delivered on the subjectYouth unemployment in Greece, she referred to the problems that young people in Greece are facing and the general economic situation in Greece.

Read the whole speech:

A friend was telling me last week that he will be jobless on 1st of May. Another friend was telling me the same on Friday morning. A third friend told me that he hasn’t been paid in the last 6 months. Other friends call from time to time and ask if I know a job for them, anything, at any salary, with or without insurance and social contributions!

Day in, day out, the nightmare of unemployment hits more and more people and families in Greece. Loss of work place, loss of income, loss of dignity and lots of broken dreams.

In March 2012 Greece passed a landmark of 50% youth unemployment. One year later, it’s only gotten worse. Youth unemployment in Greece is now around 55% and this isn’t the ceiling.

Our economy is shrinking and this economic tragedy can easily become a social disaster as young promising people leave Greece to work abroad. Young people feel that they have been abandoned by a state that offers them little support! Local unemployment offices are shutting down as a result of cuts in public spending and those that are open offer little or no advice on how to find a job.

Some say that young people have to show endurance, courage and solidarity so that they can overcome this difficult period. But endurance, courage and solidarity do not pay the rent!

In the same time, a study by Ernst & Young financial auditors company predicts that the already very high unemployment rate in Greece is expected to make a new upward leap, reaching 28% in 2013!

It is worth mentioning that Greece is ranked fourth across the European Union on the percentage of youth aged 25 to 34 living with their parents, according to the latest data released by Eurostat. In 2012, about 50.7% of young adult Greeks lived under the family’s roof, because they could not afford to pay for their own accommodation.

Unemployed people in Greece are on their own, without access to financial support or free healthcare. Unemployment benefits are available only to those who have made national insurance contributions and since many young people have never had a job, they are not entitled to any financial support.

Some experts say that people who are unemployed for a long time in their youth, have less confidence and tend to achieve less in later life. They call this “the unemployment scar”. So, could Greece be storing up a troubled generation for the future? If this is the case, in reality there is little the Greek government can do about the lack of jobs, so long as its hands are tied by the promises it has made to cut the deficit in return for bailout funds.

This is the environment that gave the Golden Dawn, a fascist party the chance to develop itself, gain ground and become a party in the Greek Parliament. In the name of national interest, they attack immigrants, homosexuals and people with different religions. They have turned the parliament into an arena but the strange thing is that their percentages are growing up because their target group is people with low or zero education, driven by their anger and frustration towards the Government and the austerity measures.

Furthermore, in Greece we have a newly introduced phenomenon, the so called “employees of 2 speeds”. People performing the same job, are getting paid differently. With the Memorandum 3, young people under 25 have a really low salary. Some companies use this law on their benefit: they hire young people and when they turn 25, they fire them so as to avoid giving them a raise.

The equivalence between workers and those retired is 1 to 1.2. That means that every employee in Greece is actually paying for 1.2 pensions only! Some experts say that the public sector is dying!

People are giving up their children in hospitals and kindergartens and many children are fading in schools because of the lack of nutrition. Greece has become the so called experiment of Europe. I don’t really know if Greece opened the Pandora’s Box or Europe was already going the wrong way.

Regarding my sector, the postal sector, our salaries have already been reduced by 35%. And along with this, the government announced during the summer holidays in August 2012 the selling of all shares of the Hellenic Post, owned by the Greek state. In the name of changes and mandatory orders of the Memorandum and Troika, they want to make the social structure disappear. The existing policy has broken the solidarity and mutual assistance relations between the employees and the citizens. “Quite the pain to become pain for everyone”. Meaning I am suffering, you have to suffer too. I don’t have a job, I don’t care if you don’t have either.


Watch the video here.


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