Coronavirus, one in four European workers in layoffs – EURACTIV Italy

In Europe, 42 million applications have been submitted to qualify for social safety nets. A record that had not been reached even during the 2008 crisis, as revealed by a study by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI).

In late April and early May, 26% of the Union’s 160 million workers, or one in every four million, were asked for reduced work allowances or other similar benefits. A percentage never reached before, not even during the 2008 financial crisis a study by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) of 13 May, entitled “Ensuring fair work part time – a European overview”.

Looking at the data of the individual Member States, updated in early May, it emerges that France was in first place with over 11 million questions, followed by Germany with over 10 million questions and Italy where on May 3, according to the data INPS, the beneficiaries of the ordinary layoffs were just over 8 million. According to the latest INPS data, on the other hand, the total potential beneficiaries of ordinary layoffs, by way of derogation, ordinary check and salary additions are 7.2 million.

If you go to see the percentage of workers involved in these measures, the picture changes significantly from country to country. In first place, in this case, there is Switzerland where almost half of the workers (48.1%) have been asked for reduced work allowances. In second place is France with 47.8% of workers, followed by Italy with 46.6%. In Germany, on the other hand, despite the high number of applications, only 1 worker out of 4 is in reduced work.

The report of the European Union Institute highlights how the different social safety nets have made it possible to avoid that many European workers were suddenly unemployed and without any subsidies, as happened in the United States, where the pandemic caused 33 million people to lose their jobs .

“Given the national and international gaps, the coverage problems and the incredible delay in making SURE operational, the risk is that if the States and the EU do not intervene quickly, most of these 42 million workers will end up unemployed” Luca Visentini, Secretary General of the European Trade Union Confederation, told the Spanish news agency EFE.

According to the European Trade Union Confederation “with the SURE program the European Commission has recognized the importance of part-time work to avoid unemployment and support employee wages”. However, the program “only provides financial support and therefore perpetuates the potential structural deficiencies of the national systems”.

Visentini, as reported by Euractiv Spain, also warns of the risk that with the attenuation of the lockdown States will be tempted to suspend the social safety nets provided so far. Which, according to the trade unionist, “would generate mass unemployment”. In this regard, Visentini also reminds that the expenses incurred by the States for layoffs and other similar measures can be recovered as soon as the Sure is operational. As explained by the European Commission, this system will provide financial assistance totaling € 100 billion in the form of loans, granted to Member States on favorable terms.