The festival of clichés about young people who refuse work has started again

The festival of clichés about young people who refuse work has started again

Like every year when the cherry trees are in bloom, the mercury exceeds 20 degrees and people start planning what will happen to them during the summer holidays, once again the controversy about "bartenders, waiters and cooks who do not They are" . A quarrel that always finds great hospitality in the Italian press and that you never understand how much a real problem is and how much a way to give Barbara D'Urso and Massimo Giletti something to talk about in their living rooms, including a link from Ukraine and one with that famous former tronista who wants to have his say on the fourth dose of the vaccine.

Also in this spring 2022 the lineup was respected, among the intervention of well-known catering entrepreneurs who point the finger at the "New lazy generations", references to citizenship income that would have made the desire to work pass from the top of its monthly amount of even a few hundred euros and the media headlines that seem to want to tell us that the only way to drink a spritz on the beach this summer it will be taken from home, since there will be no one at the counter to prepare it.

In the background, once again we have forgotten to ask ourselves about the origins of the prob lema, where the problem actually exists: precariousness and starvation wages that keep people, rightly, away from seasonal jobs.

The usual refrain about bartenders and waiters If you type the words these days “Waiters”, “bartenders” or “cooks” on Google are hit by a whirlwind of articles that denounce the difficulties in finding these workers and the desperation of entrepreneurs who no longer know how to do it.

There is the restaurateur from Conegliano, in the Veneto region, who says that no one wants a job as a waiter in his restaurant; there is the Arezzo catering entrepreneur who reports a gap of 200 people in the staff due to the constant refusals of the candidates; there is a chorus of owners of Venetian inns who say that they had never seen a shortage of similar resources before. These and many other stories systematically give the floor only to those who offer the work and never to those who reject it, as should be done to really understand the reason for this choice and not to launch into hypotheses without scientific basis. We just have to put up with the latter, however, fed by the intervention of well-known personalities and exponents of institutions and various sectors who exploit their media position of strength to add fuel to the fire of an increasingly toxic narrative when it comes to young people. and work.

Scrolling through the list of articles on the subject you can read about everything, but each version has a minimum common denominator: the fault lies with the young. The young people who prefer the citizenship income to a real job because it is more comfortable this way, the young people who with each new generation are increasingly lazy and unwilling to sacrifice and have now enthusiastically married the condition of the Neet (people not engaged in study , neither in work nor in training), the young people who, once the lockdown was over, fled their homeland to seek fortune abroad instead of staying and rolling up their sleeves to revive it with shakes and room service.

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This year alongside the traditional headliners of the festival of clichés about young people who refuse work, such as Flavio Briatore, new ones have been announced. Among these Alessandro Borghese, entrepreneur and cook used to confirming or overturning the result in the television program "4 restaurants" and who has overturned the meaning of the Italian Constitution where it is stated that "Everyone has the right to decent and dignified work "(Article 3) and" The worker has the right to a salary proportionate to the quantity and quality of his work "(Article 36).

Borghese in an interview with Corriere della Sera, which if we go to verify it is certainly the newspaper that a few years ago filed with the patent office the trademark of the aforementioned festival of clichés on young people who refuse work, said the following, in a rash born of the defection of some boys of his brigade: "I will be unpopular, but I have no problem saying that working to learn doesn't necessarily mean getting paid. I served on cruise ships with approved board and lodging. Stop. I was fine with it: the opportunity was worth the salary. Today there are little boys with no art or part who do not have the slightest intention of investing in themselves. Lack of devotion to work, lack of attachment to the shirt. Sometimes I have the impression that the new generations are looking for a job hoping not to find it because, when you call them to give them a chance, they won't be found ". And again: “No one has ever given me anything. I broke my back, this work is made up of sacrifices and self-denial. Today kids prefer to hang out on weekends with friends. And when they decide to try, they do it with the arrogance of those who feel they have arrived and the claim to receive important compensation immediately ".

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To these statements were added other not insignificant ones, such as those of the Minister of Tourism Massimo Garavaglia, who, always interviewed by Corriere (!), said that "the labor market is vitiated by citizenship income, which it is burying the seasonal workers. ”And those of the president of the Federation of public businesses of Veneto, Paolo Artelio, who (again) called into question by Corriere spoke of laziness of young people and“ priority of having fun with friends over working ”.

Young people as scapegoats What never comes to mind to those who give these interviews and to those who conduct them, is that the world out there can hardly be inhabited as hordes of reclining young people want to believe on the wadding, a wadding however uncomfortable because it is pattered by an intermittent rain of money that makes idleness not serene enough. The reality is that if there is a lack of seasonal workers it is because there is an underlying problem, in the condition in which these people are put to work.

If a person prefers an income such as that of citizenship of a few hundred euros monthly (582 on average according to Istat) compared to a job as a bartender or waiter, the problem is not the citizenship income, but the wages and benefits offered by the aforementioned job. And then we must point the finger not at the social support measures put in place to offer a crutch in a sick context, but precisely at the sick context, the contractual one. Seasonal work as a bartender, waiter and cook, described by newspapers and entrepreneurs as heaven on earth and a springboard towards a bright future of employment, is actually a world often made up of very low wages, exhausting shifts, unpaid overtime, big black which goes hand in hand with regular part-time shifts and above all zero prospects when the season says goodbye. A situation that is already difficult when it is regular and that often ends up leading to irregularities: according to data from the National Labor Inspectorate, in the catering and accommodation sectors the rate of irregularity exceeds 70%. That the game is not worth the candle seems so obvious that we don't even have to say it, but given the turn that the story of the phenomenon has taken, today it is more urgent than ever to shout it out.

But behind this toxic narrative there is also an ideological problem. Where is it written that young people should be the ones to accept these occupations, coincidentally those with the highest rate of precariousness and exploitation? The equation shortage of seasonal staff = lazy young people is pretentious from the beginning, because there are also endless audiences of adults who refuse these jobs, but they are simply not a good scapegoat, unless they are earners of citizenship income. In that case, they come in handy.

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