What are the conditions for developing areas without long-term unemployment?

From 17 to 18 June 2021 a webinar took place organiszed by CET Namur in collaboration with the CEC and the support of EZA and the European Union on the subject of "What are the conditions for developing areas without long-term unemployment?"

The Zero Long-Term Unemployment Territories (TZCLD) project has existed in France since 2016 and is governed by a law, the principle of which was confirmed at the end of 2020 and enacts the extension of the experience to 50 additional territories. In Belgium, political interest in TZCLD has been shown by the regional governments (Wallonia and Brussels Capital) and by the so-called Vivaldi federal government. The Walloon Government confirmed at the end of June to the Parliament of Wallonia the launch of a call for projects in 2022 in order to be able to select a dozen experimental territories, but many points remain to be clarified beforehand, notably at the legal level. Our webinar was a continuation of a previous seminar held in Namur in June 2019, which laid the foundations for an understanding of the French experimental project. In 2021, the aim was to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the system by drawing lessons from parliamentary work in France, by examining the results of academic studies carried out in Belgium by different universities or researchers but also by learning about field experiments. Studies carried out in France and Belgium and commented on by those working in the field. In addition to the actors in the field, our webinar invited to the debates the social partners and the European Commission.

Andrée Debrulle, vice-president of the CEC recalled the legislative, financial and economic context in France and Belgium as well as the cultural issues related to the representations we have of work, the skills of job seekers but also of how to mobilize local actors (local elected officials, unions, businesses, residents, the unemployed, associative sector, etc.) for the establishment of TZCLD.

Aline Bingen from the Department of Social Sciences of Work of the Université Libre de Bruxelles presented the results of several research studies carried out on the subject, highlighting the obstacles to the identification of the desires and projects of the unemployed, experiments carried out in Belgium for decades to combat long-term unemployment by also integrating the dimension of territorial development and non-competition between public and private partners.

Julien Charles, research coordinator Centre Socialiste d'Education Permanente (CESEP) co-author of the study "20 conditions for a successful appropriation of TZCLD in French-speaking Belgium" presented the 5 objectives and means, among which, the universalization of access to employment by including the people furthest from employment, ensuring the economic security of workers by stabilizing employment, promoting the democratic vitality of the territories by creating Local Employment Committees (CPEs).

Louis Berny, End-of-studies work at UCL "Territories with zero long-term unemployed in Belgium: What contours for a quality job? Comparison with Walloon measures to promote employment" and he presented three measures of existing employment promotion in Wallonia: employment development initiatives in the local social services sector (IDESS), integration companies and the service voucher system.

Laurent Grandguillaume, volunteer President of the TZCLD association and author of the TZCLD law in France, emphasizes that more than a regulatory mechanism, we are faced here with a societal transformation project supported by the field and not imposed from above.

Paul Timmermans, President of the Employment-Training Chamber of the Southern Basin authority, gave an overview of the TZCLS initiative in Wallonia.

Paul Palsterman, Regional Secretary, Confederation of Christian Trade Unions, Brussels: In general, the unions start from a process of sympathy towards the TZCLD project and its 3 founding slogans. But at the same time, as unions they remain attentive to the details of the project.

Gaetan Van Lîtreen, TZCLD project leader for ACTIRIS first shared the observation made by Actiris. At the end of 2019, there were around 250,000 job unemployed seekers for more than 12 months in Belgium. Regional and federal policies have had little impact on long-term unemployed job seekers.

Camille Delpey, TZLCD project manager for the city of Paris presented the experience carried out since the end of 2016 in two disadvantaged districts of the 13th arrondissement of the City of Paris located near a zoning grouping together tertiary activities, the largest hotel in start-ups of the world and a university hub. Xavier Desgain, Alderman for employment in Charleroi underlined the difficulty at the local level of finding funds to develop policies to combat long-term unemployment.

Lars Engsted, Team Leader of the Unit in charge of Employment Strategy at DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission recalled the Council's recommendations relating to the integration of CLDs into the labour market ( 2016/c67/01) and the new measures to encourage the registration of people who are not registered in any public service with the support available to them (access to training within 6 months of unemployment, etc.) as well as the characteristics of Professional Integration Agreements, the state of play in the Member States of one-stop information points for job seekers and the latest statistics on long-term unemployment in Europe and the participation of CLDs aged 25-65 in education and training.

Chantal Richard, CFDT, Confederal Secretary in charge of the “Integration, Poverty and Unemployment” file. The CFDT got involved in the TZCLD when the first law was drafted with a look of benevolence but also vigilance on the following points: - the experimental aspect: it is a very interesting concept because it allows to '' move forward in the project, encounter difficulties that we have not thought of and try to resolve them. But this experience resulting from very precise criteria of the law must be evaluated according to the very precise criteria of the law.

Ignacio Doreste, Inclusion and Employment Advisor - European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) The ETUC has no position on this national policy. However, he is very interested in the TZCLD project, especially in the context of a discussion for a potential European Employment Guarantee. Also attended Tatiana Vial Grosser, Co-Director Brussels Federation of Socio-professional Integration Organizations - FEBISP.

Vial Grosser stresses the importance of establishing TZCLDs on the integration side, and of giving more importance to the person who will be employed.

Conclusions of Jean-Paul Tricart, President of the CEC. At the end of this webinar on the TZCLD initiative, he thanked, on behalf of the CEC, all the institutions and people who made it possible. This is the second seminar that CEC and CET Namur are devoting to the TZCLD initiative. If we wanted to deepen the reflection that we had initiated in 2019 on this subject, it is because we were able to measure the great benevolence and the real interest that the TZCLD initiative meets with many actors of local action in the fields of social inclusion, training, social economy, particularly in France and Belgium, and because we wanted to help and encourage these actors to understand their strengths and weaknesses, and to draw lessons from them. lessons for their own actions.9 The webinar confirmed this interest, while suggesting that we first question precisely why there is such interest. There is in fact a gap between the relatively limited number of concrete TZCLD experiences, i.e. its "reality" in terms of an effective response to the extent of long-term unemployment (a few thousand unemployed actually supported) and the abundance, even the emphasis, of the production of speeches relating to this initiative, and to its “promises”.

Some have underlined their sympathy for its "founding slogans", its rhetoric of reconciling the economy and the social and its desire to change the outlook on job seekers, while expressing their doubts and even their vigilance as to its ambition or its claim to be a "quick fix", both economically profitable and socially desirable. Moreover, the fight against long-term unemployment obviously cannot be reduced to the modernization or strengthening of integration actions for the long-term unemployed: it also presupposes the transformation of some of the mechanisms for regulating the labour market and unemployment compensation policies or support for restructuring. So, the first conclusion of our discussions, the need to question the inflation of speeches or "narrations" concerning the TZCLD initiative, to be attentive to the contradictions that these narrations often come to cover or confuse and therefore also to examine how the various actors concerned appropriate all or part of these discourses. This webinar also allowed us to hear the actors engaged in concrete actions, the difficult construction of partnerships, the search for funding, the consideration of local power relations, the confrontation with the logics of the institutions, the adaptation to the specificities of local territories etc. The analyses and testimonies that have been proposed give concrete content to the debates relating to the nature of “employment-oriented enterprises”, “local employment committees” etc. They also lead to situating the TZCLD experiences in the broader context of all policies or action mechanisms relating to the promotion of employment and social inclusion at the local level. These exchanges have also shown that it is never a question of simply transferring or extending to another territory an action methodology that would have been tested elsewhere, but each time re-creating a mobilization of actors and allowing the reappropriation by these actors of the lessons of experiences developed elsewhere. The CEC will obviously make all the texts and documents of the presentations presented during the webinar available to participants. These debates underlined the usefulness of a public debate on long-term unemployment and the actions that can be taken locally in favour of the people concerned. Several participants underlined that the administrative or statistical category of “long-term unemployed” could be confusing or inadequate to describe all the situations of dropping out, exclusion or lasting withdrawal from the labour market which call for answers in terms of employment. social inclusion of the people concerned but also responses in terms of building labour markets that are truly inclusive. The CEC is ready to work in this direction with the local, regional, national and European actors interested in these analyses and in the promotion of a public debate involving at the same time the experts, the public authorities, the social partners and the organisations of Civil society.