By Jose Antonio Arias
Again, for the umpteenth time the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has attacked Spanish youth and their wages, while the Spanish business lobby shouts “we told you so”.
This is the scenario: over 50% youth unemployment, the minimum wage at €645.30 (virtually frozen since 2011) and almost non-existent labour rights.
Faced with these facts the director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, concludes that “we must end youth unemployment.” So far we can all agree, but her prescription for solving the problem is poison. She proposes, as Spanish business has, to create an even lower minimum wage for workers under 35 years of age. No more no less.
That is to say, Mrs Lagarde believes that the under 35s have to be paid less than the minimum wage to qualify for a job. We do not deserve the same rights as other workers. So harsh and so simple.
Instead of cutting working hours for existing workers that are exploited by companies and so encourage them to hire more staff, instead of raising wages of employees of companies that are reaping millions in profits, rather than reduce the six-to-seven digit salaries of senior executives… Instead of this, the IMF says pay less to the young.
Not that €645 is a living wage, it is not. But what they are saying is that a young worker is worth less than other workers, that we should discriminate according to age with impunity. With the excuse of the crisis, an excuse that is repeated ad nauseam, and which is used to legitimize their attacks against workers and anyone who gets in their way, as they continue to enrich themselves.
Jose Antonio Arias is employment spokesman for Socialist Youth (JSE)
Translated by Revolting Europe