CATUS: Youth on labour market conference

On April 1st, Youth Section of the Confederation of the Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia (CATUS) has organized a Conference “Youth on the labour market” in Belgrade, Serbia. Participants were members and activists of the Youth Section from all over country. “Friedriech Ebert Stiftung”, Office in Belgrade, has kindly supported this activity.

The Conference was opened by the president of the CATUS Youth Section Bojana Bijelović Bosanac, who underlined difficulties arising from high unemployment rate of young people in Serbia (43,3%), high inactivity rate (71% in 2015), long-term unemployment etc. The studies show that the „Millennials“ in Serbia grow up 10 years after their peers in Denmark. There are also negative effects on quality of employment, conditions of work, rate of unionisation and activism.

Representative of Ministry of Labour pointed the active employment measures targeting young people up to age of 30, and suggested that young unionists should be more involved on local level in local Councils for Employment. Representative of the CATUS indicated that social dialogue is not properly functioning and that unions do not have a vote on the laws concerning workers or employment. An economist stated that in 10 years Serbia will no longer suffer unemployment, because the population is constantly decreasing and young people are leaving the country looking for jobs.

President of the PERC Youth Committee, Tatiana Marian explained that youth (un)employment is a priority for the organisation and presented some instruments for fighting unemployment. Member of ETUC Youth Committee Želimir Stanić evaluated European guarantee program in Slovenia from a critical stand and made suggestions for improving this scheme.

Finally, representative of the Executive Board of the National Youth Council of Serbia gave an overview of youth initiatives and activities on solving unemployment. He also presented a National program for employment youth until 2020 and pointed some of best practices for young people.

Once again we concluded that no solution is sustainable if both unions and young people are involved in order to make systemic programs for recovery. Also Serbian education system should reform to become more practical, and narrow the gap between labour market and itself.