The EU has seen economic growth in the last decade. However, according to a study, since the economic crisis in 2008, social inequalities like in-work poverty have been rising. It also found that, despite lower unemployment, wages have fallen and work has become less stable.
The study found that the risk of poverty had decreased over the last ten year. But between 2010 and 2017, the number of people affected by in-work poverty increased from 8.3% and 9.4%.
This has been largely blamed on more companies only offering part-time or zero-hours contracts, as well as freelancing and other “non-traditional” employment.
In addition to this, the changing dynamics of work mean that many people are no longer covered by social protection schemes and welfare payments. The report notes: “Interruptions of employment also result in an interruption in social contributions.”
This can go on to cause further challenges, such as problems accessing healthcare and finding affordable housing, especially for citizens from low-income backgrounds and those trying to rent accommodation in large cities.
In particular, young people have been hit hard by these changes. Younger citizens face problems in education, which can fail to provide them with the skills they need to adapt to the changes in the workforce. Younger workers also tend to be more affected by low pay and poor working conditions.
In response to this, Nicolas Schmit, Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner said: “When we talk about unemployment that has been reduced, this is good news, but you have to look at what kind of jobs have been created.”
“What statistics tell you is that people have a job, but not that they are suffering in that job. “We have to come back to a social market economy. We need to build a new modern economy of the 21st century and we cannot do it with the working conditions and the social conditions of the 19th century”
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