EU Green Paper Legalises Blackmail of Workers

2 May 2007

EU Green Paper Legalises Blackmail of Workers

The SP’s Euro-MPs have reacted extremely critically to proposals from the European Commission contained in the Green Paper on the modernisation of labour law currently under consideration by the Parliament. The paper shows the Commission to be a strong advocate of so-called ‘flexicurity’ and in a paper adopted today by the Committee on Gender Equality SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard describes the numerous negative consequences which the Commission's proposals would have for the position of workers in general and women workers in particular.

Kartika LiotardAccording to Kartika Liotard ‘flexicurity’ would mean that already existing income differentials, including those between men and women, would widen. “Flexicurity is a misleading term,” she said, “because it offers flexibility to the employer at the cost of the employee, who will find herself with more insecurity. Particularly those population groups who are already at a disadvantage in the labour market, such as women and ethnic minorities, who already find themselves working in disproportionate numbers on temporary contracts and for low wages, are likely to become the latest victims of the Commission's mania for deregulation. This will only result in a further widening of the income gap in European countries.”

“We can already see throughout Europe a tendency for employers to blackmail workers into accepting less favourable working conditions and conditions of employment, offering them the choice between mass redundancy on the one hand or longer hours and lower wages on the other,” Liotard continued. “What the Commission is doing in this Green Paper is legalising this situation. This is an unacceptable attack on the position of workers.”

A second point made in the SP’s criticism of the proposals is that social security and labour law are primarily national responsibilities which should remain under national control. “It’s for the member states themselves to decide whether or not they want a more flexible labour law,” Liotard said. “Europe should not be interfering in this.”

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