Inclusive labour market

A seminar about “Inclusive labour market” took place from 13 to 16 September 2018 in Oradea, Romania. It was organized by IFES (Institutul de Formare Economică şi Socială), with the support of EZA and of the European Union. The seminar was visited by 42 representatives of workers’ organizations from 10 countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Moldavia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain and Romania).

What was the most important aspect of the seminar?

The seminar gave the opportunity to workers’ organisations, especially representatives of the trade unions, to learn and to talk about the labour market realities in various countries of Europe (European Union and candidate member states). Challenges like the quality of jobs, readiness of people to have a workplace, what to do in order to keep a job, the role and the contribution of the trade unions to ensure the inclusivity of the labour market were raised by the speakers and the participants throughout the 3 days of the seminar.

Why was the seminar important just now?

The situation in the participating countries is contradictory. On the one hand, in Eastern European countries, people have difficulties in integrating into the labour market, because they do not have the necessary qualifications, because they do not meet the selection criteria of the employers or because jobs are not attractive due to unsatisfactory wages. On the other hand, employers complain about the lack of workforce, a lack of workplace seriousness and fluctuations of staff. More than that, a lot of young persons are looking for jobs, and there is a huge labour force mobility within and around Europe. A lot of persons are currently having a job which does not lift them out of poverty.

The labour market in Europe is not an inclusive one. It seems to be a critical situation showing that the actual policies are not effective anymore. The social partners should be listened, the situation in different countries shall be discussed and compared and the main conclusions shall be issued toward the authorities.

Which topic fields were discussed?

-Towards a more social Europe? An evaluation of the potential of the recent Commission initiatives to promote a more inclusive labour market

-European Semester. What is it? How is the actual labour market doing?

-The state of the inclusivity of the actual labour market? How can the proposal of the European Labour Authority help people to have better access to the labour market?

-The European labour market it is an inclusive one? (puzzle)

-A changing world of work requires new approaches to ensure an inclusive labour market.

-Education is the key for accessing the labour market? What kind of education?

-The labour market and its importance for the communities. How the public authorities can help disadvantaged people to access the labour market.

-The role of associative structures in training the metropolitan rural workforce

-Good practices in the current social dialogue. Perspectives for a more inclusive labour market

Seminar results

Through the topics introduced by the lecturers in the first seminar day, we had an actual perspective on current outlook for a social Europe. Social and employments policies seem to be back as one of the priorities of the European Commission. Since the adoption of the European Social Pillar, the social agenda has moved up on the European agenda. Nevertheless, the analysis of the European Semester reports shows that there are not too many concrete achievements in the meantime.

The second day focused on the concrete characteristics of the labour markets in various European countries. For sure, the labour market is a comprehensive and diverse reality. The seminar organisers proposed to build a picture of the European labour market over the course of a day: as present, as concrete and as close to reality as possible. The image of the European labour market was outlined in the form of brief presentations of projects, situations, examples from the media, personal experiences. The presentations included a factory encouraging the young people to take a job there or having a good internship program, a project for the elders throughout which they are helped to preserve their job by updating the professional competencies, a special situation with a person with disabilities who got a job, a project for poor people to raise their qualification and to find a job, a case of a person from a rural area who found a very good job and so on, a project by which the people in penitentiaries are assisted to prepare themselves for the life after they are getting out from the prison. The image that emerges after composing the puzzle shows the diversity of aspects related to the inclusion of the labour market, the dysfunctions and the means by which the social actors have tried to compensate for the lack of efficiency of public policies.

In the last day, the participants discussed also on practical aspects (the characteristics of the actual labour market, the importance of the education) and on some solutions for very sensitive living areas (poor neighbourhoods in big cities and rural areas around big cities). We concluded by talking about the social dialogue (how does it working in our days and in our countries, how much the trade unions are facing this kind of problems).

The most part of the seminar was about practical issues, about solutions. The involvement of the participants was absolute. So, all of them were attentive to the cases, to the figures, to the solutions presented by others. Those solutions focused on the involvement of the social partners in labour market integration projects, especially through social dialogue at local and national level, through networking with the aim of dissemination of the good practices, immediate reports on situations where access to labour market or preservation of a job may be suspected of abuse or violation of the law. There were discussions on how different ways to tackle the problems are suitable in other places, in other countries. All the seminar papers and the different presentations are available to all the participants, so they can use the seminar ideas and information in their daily activities.