There are 38 million European workers who, in recent months, find themselves in the position of not being able to afford a period of summer vacation for themselves and their families. The surge in holiday costs concerns, with varying degrees of intensity, the entire European Union and cuts out approximately 19.5% of the reference audience. The figure emerges from an analysis by the European Trade Union Confederation (CES) on numbers provided by Eurostat.
Unprecedented price increases
In the EU, the cost of holiday packages at home or abroad - which have always been designed to offer travelers advantageous prices - increased by 12.4% between January and May, after +11.5% already recorded last year. This is the highest increase since 1996, the year in which the first surveys of this type were launched. Today, the analysis explains, The average cost of a tourist package of four nights or more of 2,967 euros, an increase of more than 600 euros since 2018. A price that, in 14 out of 27 states, exceeds the value of an entire month's pay for those earning the minimum wage.
The largest number (proportionally) of workers excluded from holidays is concentrated in countries where the minimum wage established by law is below the threshold of 5 euros per hour. Romania is in the dark (43% are excluded from holidays), followed by Greece (37%), Hungary (34%) and Croatia (31%). Italy is positioned on a par with the latter, where the minimum wage – at the center of the current dispute between the government majority and the opposition – lacks a specific law that sets its parameters, but where the average hourly wage is still higher than that of the countries mentioned.
The wage question
The cost of accommodation is growing, from hotels to B&Bs, but also that of travel, with the Italian Guarantor for price surveillance which has been monitoring the increases in air travel for days. So it happens that in our country about one worker out of 3 has to give up the summer holiday period. And for those who are forced to stay at home, recreational and cultural activities, including visits to the cinema or museums, also cost 6.5% compared to last year. There is a wage question - comments the Uil secretary, Pierpaolo Bombardieri - in many sectors, starting right from that of tourism, where considerable profits are being recorded, while the renewals of many collective agreements remain at a standstill.
The impact on low-income families
And on the subject of wages, it is worth recalling the picture provided a few days ago by the OECD's Employment Outlook. The report highlighted how the countries of the area experienced a drop in real wages of 2.2% in 2022, with Italy bringing up the rear, where the contraction compared to the period preceding the pandemic reached 7.5%. The loss of purchasing power, reports the OECD itself, ends up having the greatest impact on low-income familiesoften unable to get into debt or draw on savings to cope with price increases.
The cost-of-living crisis means many workers will struggle to adequately feed their children during the summer holidays, let alone think about a vacation or days away from home, he says the general secretary of the CES, Esther Lynch. People who have, yes, a job, but wages that are inadequate or even poor - says Bombardieri, underlining how the percentage of Italians who give up their summer holidays is double that recorded in France and Germany. If we also consider those who have lost their jobs or are in a condition of precariousness, this percentage is bound to increase.