SP: European Commission must go for job security in time of crisis

24 November 2010

SP: European Commission must go for job security in time of crisis

The European Commission yesterday published its ten-year plan for the labour market, 'Europa 2020'. The plan lays emphasis on so-called 'flexicurity', including the weakening of rights on dismissal. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong: 'The Commission’s last five year plan was already extremely directed towards ‘flexibility’, and I’m not convinced that the Commission is now committed to more job security, which is exactly what Europe needs in this time of crisis.'

De Jong is not critical of every aspect of the report, noting that on some points the Commission has developed a new understanding of the issues. ‘They agree that temporary workers should have more protection in case of hardship,’ he says. ‘But the overall trend is negative. No attention is paid to the phenomenon of the working poor, despite the fact that more and more people are employed who can’t make ends meet. Just like in America, you’re seeing in Europe more and more people who have to take two jobs just to survive.’ A stark example of this is the situation in the postal sector, De Jong notes. ‘Cheap delivery services pay €3 an hour in order to undercut postal workers who are paid normally, and that’s got to stop.’

Intelligent choices for the future
With the current ten-year plan, the Commission, in De Jong’s view, is opting for the past. ‘Just as it’s becoming more and more obvious that flexible work contracts are not in the long term good for the economy as a whole, the European Commission is maintaining its attachment to this outdated concept.” A recent report from the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands has demonstrated that labour productivity is higher where ‘flexibilisation’ is absent or less extreme. Employers are willing to invest more in training workers and the workers for their part feel more part of a firm and are more responsible on the shop floor. 'The Commission wants to see a better trained workforce, but this proposal puts the cart before the horse. I’ll do what I can to help the Commission with better proposals than those before us at the moment so that we can offer workers what they need – security in time of crisis.’

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