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(Un) employed youth: pandemic layoffs, lower wages and insufficient awareness of workers' rights

The health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has serious implications, both globally and nationally. This crisis not only did not avoid young people, but hit them hard, bringing them to the top of the categories of vulnerable groups of people. The youth unemployment rate in the country is 39.2 percent, which is among the highest unemployment rates in Europe.

Most of the young people who have lost their jobs had a fixed-term employment contract, which shows that young people are one of the most vulnerable categories of people when it comes to workers' rights. They often work illegally, receive lower wages than other workers and work in more precarious positions.

In our country, most of the young people feel like a marginalized group of people for whom no one cares about their problems, says Irena Ivanovska, President of the Youth Committee of CCM.

"We are at a time when youth unemployment is 39.2%, when most young people work in the informal economy, earn lower wages than other employees who have same positions, work longer hours than agreed, have fixed-term contracts and when half of them, ie 53%, are determined to leave the country," said Ivanovska.

The discouragement of young people stems from the complex economic situation in the country, further aggravated by the health crisis. The lack of jobs, job offers that do not correspond to the qualifications and the low salaries, are a reality that young people face at the beginning of their employment, and they continue after.

To overcome such issues we need strong Trade Union organizations, we need young people in the Unions so that they can be fully informed, trained and involved in the procedures for recognition, protection and promotion of workers' rights.

The whole interview can be read on the following link:

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