Brussels, 10 July 2014
Employment: Commission proposes €1.6 million from Globalisation Fund for Dutch construction workers
The European Commission has proposed to provide The Netherlands with €1.6 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 475 workers made redundant in the construction sector in the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel to find new jobs. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for their approval.
EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented: "The construction sector in Gelderland and Overijssel has been hit particularly hard by the effects of the crisis and the redundant workers are facing difficulties to find new jobs. This proposal for 1.6 million euros from Europe's Globalisation Adjustment Fund would contribute to measures to boost their chances of getting new employment."
The Netherlands applied for support from the EGF following the dismissal of 562 workers from 89 small and medium sized enterprises operating in the construction sector in the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel, where construction is a major employer.
The measures co-financed by the EGF would help the 475 workers facing the greatest difficulty to find new jobs by offering them job-search assistance, outplacement assistance, vocational training and a mobility pool. The latter would be a flexible pool for both job seekers and employers and would provide temporary jobs. Retrained workers would in this way gain the necessary work experience and would be able to apply for new jobs once the temporary assignment expired.
The total estimated cost of the package is approximately €2.7 million, of which the EGF would provide €1.6 million.
There are three main reasons for the reductions in production and employment in the construction sector and specifically the construction of buildings. These are all related to the financial and economic crisis:
The construction sector has been in constant decline in The Netherlands since 2008, the last year that turnover grew compared to the previous year (with a small recovery only in 2011).
About 60 000 people were employed in the construction sector in Gelderland and 39 500 persons in Overijssel, representing respectively 6.3% and 7.3% of the working population in these regions. Construction plays an important role in the provincial economy and labour market. The redundancies in the sector are therefore expected to have a substantial negative impact on the local and regional economy and on overall levels of employment.
The number of unemployed people in the construction sector in Gelderland and Overijssel represented 39% of the total number of unemployed people in thatsector in the whole country in 2012. The number of unemployed construction workers has doubled in the January 2011 – December 2013 period.
More open trade with the rest of the world leads to overall benefits for growth and employment, but it can also cost some jobs, particularly in vulnerable sectors and affecting lower-skilled workers. This is why Commission President Barroso first proposed setting up a fund to help those adjusting to the consequences of globalisation. Since the start of its operations in 2007, the EGF has received 124 applications. Some €500 million has been requested to help more than 108,000 workers. EGF applications are being presented to help in a growing number of sectors, and by an increasing number of Member States. In 2013 alone, it provided more than €53.5 million.
In June 2009, the EGF rules were revised to strengthen the role of the EGF as an early intervention instrument forming part of Europe's response to the financial and economic crisis. The revised EGF Regulation entered into force on 2 July 2009 and the crisis criterion applied to all applications received from 1 May 2009 to 30 December 2011.
Building on this experience and the value added by the EGF for the assisted workers and affected regions, the Fund continues during the 2014-2020 period as an expression of EU solidarity, with further improvements to its functioning. Its scope has been expanded to include again workers made redundant because of the economic crisis, as well as fixed-term workers, the self-employed, and, by way of derogation until the end of 2017, young people not in employment, education or training in regions of high youth unemployment.
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