The unequal treatment of the old and the young in the workplace
The polarization between Old and Young on the labour market is progressing.
For young career starters, a decently remunerated full-time job is more the exception than the rule. The debate about the “Generation Internship”, i.e. the increasing abuse of internships among students and graduates, is only symptomatic of the spread of vulnerable forms of employment among young career starters. Young people are now treated as second-class workers.
More than half of the young employees work at low wages and under precarious conditions. Temporary agency work has almost doubled among young employees. Every second new hire is hired based on a short-term contract. Only one in three young people who have completed their training is taken on for an indefinite period. Young workers also have less legal protection against dismissals and are dismissed more quickly. Young people are far more at risk of poverty than older people and have less to expect from the welfare state.
Structural discrimination against young people in the labour market must end:
1. Where the flexibility of the labour market leads to discrimination, this abuse must be curbed. Unfounded short-term employment must be prohibited. Subcontracted labour, service contracts and mini-jobs must be fair.
2. Minimum wages must protect young people from poverty and exploitation. There must be no minimum age for the minimum wage.
3. The legal and collective dismissal protection against dismissal must no longer discriminate against young people.
4. Vocational training must be strengthened.
5. Pay must not be based on age. The starting salaries have to be raised, in return the salaries of older high earners can rise more moderately.
6. The tougher sanctioning of young jobseekers by the job centres must be prevented.
7. The prohibition of discrimination according to age must be enshrined in the principle of equality laid down in the onstitution.
8. In the course of demographic change, a policy for age-appropriate work is indispensable.
9. We need more investment in education and training to cope with demographic change. Young people need to take centre stage.