Almost nine million people in the European Union were considered “underemployed” in 2011, according to new Eurostat figures. These numbers add to the growing ranks of nearly 25 million unemployed in the EU, highlighting a ticking social time-bomb.
Some 42 million workers in the EU were employed part-time in 2011, according to a survey by the European statistical office, Eurostat, up from 41.3 million the year before.
Of those, 8.6 million – more than 20% – said they were available to work more, a situation of so-called “underemployment” that is raising concern at the European Commission.
“Many people who are self-employed, in part-time or fixed term contracts, continue to be inadequately covered by social protection,” the European Commission said on 18 April in a strategy for a ‘job-rich recovery’.
This category of workers is “often being rewarded unfavourably compared to people in full-time permanent contracts,” the EU executive added in an accompanying working document, referring to “levels of pay” and “holiday rights”.
In some countries, part-time workers who consider themselves underemployed are half or more than half the total. In Greece, 58% of part-time workers declare themselves available for working longer hours. In Latvia, this percentage reaches 57%, in Spain 49% and in Cyprus 42%…
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