Joint work by social partners to address issues of common concern is not an everyday occurrence in the UK. At a European level however, it is normal for trade union and employers’ organisations to work together on framework agreements of common interest.
One example of an issue that could be tackled through a partnership approach is youth unemployment. The need for urgent action to tackle this scourge has never been more important. A failure to act will not only mean tens of thousands of young unemployed people suffering disadvantage throughout their lives, but society as a whole suffering, as the implications of a “lost generation” will stifle economic growth and have the potential to be socially and politically explosive.
In June this year, the ETUC and Business Europe were the lead players in drawing up a Framework of Action on Youth Employment. On a slightly narrower canvas, I worked earlier this month with a Norwegian employer to produce a report and resolution for the European Economic Area (EEA) Consultative Committee on the Role of Social Partners in the Transition of Young People from Education to the Labour Market.