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Governments must act to fight growing age-based unemployment

June 2, 2010 11:04 AM
Originally published by Liz Lynne
Liz Lynne MEP at the launch of the Decent Work Decent Life campaign.

Age discrimination breaks our fundamental rights, says Liz Lynne MEP

LibDem MEP Liz Lynne has backed a cross party call in the European Parliament calling for action to tackle growing youth unemployment and the difficulty for workers over 55 to get new jobs.

The MEPs backing a written declaration on the issue believe there are growing signs that the recession has encouraged some employers to cut costs crudely by targeting the youngest and oldest workers.

Liz Lynne, First Vice President of the European Parliament's Employment Committee, said: "There are signs that young people and workers over 55 are suffering age discrimination in trying to get or keep their jobs.

"The soaring youth unemployment rate in Birmingham in my regional constituency is not a statistical freak but part of a trend.

"Across Europe, 20% of under 25-year-olds are now out of work, in Birmingham the rate is one in four, and in some inner city wards much higher than that.

"The jobless rate is lower in London, it is important that we look beyond the capital cities to see what is happening in the real economy.

"This declaration is a cross party call to EU governments including our own not to let the youngest and oldest members of the workforce suffer unfairly in this recession.

"There is no point paying lip service to fighting age-based discrimination if commitments are ignored when the going gets tough.

"I hope as many MEPs as possible sign up to this declaration so we can ensure the issue of youth unemployment and fairer treatment for workers over 55 becomes a higher priority."

If 369 MEPs (a majority in the Parliament) sign up to the declaration, the proposal will be forwarded to the European Commission for further action.


NOTE: On the most recent February 2010 figures, youth unemployment was 25.1% in Birmingham, the highest of any major city in the UK. In London the figure was 12%, while the national figure was 13.9%.


Text of the resolution supported by Liz Lynne MEP:


Written declaration on helping young and elderly Europeans to gain employment

The European Parliament,

- having regard to the European Council conclusions of 25-26 March and specifically to the target of a 75% job occupancy rate for women and men aged between 20 and 64,

- having regard to the Lisbon Strategy,

- having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the right to work without discrimination based on age or gender is a fundamental right of all European citizens,

B. whereas, following the economic crisis, 1 in 5 young people aged under 25 in the EU are now unemployed, and citizens aged over 55 are among those most affected by unemployment because advancing age increases the chances of being unable to find a job,

C. whereas a labour deficit is recorded in many EU Member States,

1. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to prioritise improving employment prospects for young people under 25;

2. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take steps to help citizens over the age of 55 return to the labour market;

3. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Parliaments of the Member States.