Efficiency and employment

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Through years in modern societies the maintaining low unemployment and sufficient job security was a vital part of governmental social policy. But in the latest days it has become hard to fullfill this function and employees all over the world are increasingly at risk. The chances of their jobs disappearing, of their incomes falling, of their homes being repossessed or being impossible to sell, of their families breaking up, of their networks of friendships disintegrating, have not been higher since the war.

There are already familiar risks that lead to worse social conditions: unemployment and low pay

On top of the long-standing concerns about the growing gap between rich and poor. But they are no longer the sole measures of inequality and lack of social well being, there is a new range of risks that are bringing fresh patterns of social distress and exclusion; with the rise of new forms of casualized, temp?r?r? and contract forms of employment, even those on average incomes and above can become victims of pressures beyon their control. They too can be left partially or completely excluded from their social networks.

The risk on workforces has increased as successive Employment Acts have reduced employee protection and as companies have come under intense and growing pressure from pension funds and insurance company shareholders to deliver the highest financial returns in the industrialized world. In times of fierce competition firms must be effective. Companies can profitably manage the ?bb and flow of demand over the business cycle if they reduce their core staff to ? minimum and hire additional workers on contracts which will allow them to be shed quickly if times get rough. The company bears less risk. The risk is borne by their fluctuating labour force. The famous example is of Burger King, where young workers clocked on when customers appeared; this reduced their wages to ? derisory level but ensured that they were only paid for the minutes they were needed. There has been ? marked growth in forms of work that are not ‘tenured’. With full-time workers only qualifying for tenure after two years, the recent pick-up in full-time work means little. They can be laid ?ff within two years as easily as they were hired. The rapid growth in the number of part-timers without any formal j?b security, contract workers, workers sacked and then rehired as self-employed, temporary, part-time self-employed and agency workers is the true indicator that employment conditions have changed; self-employment alone has doubled over the past ten years.

Even those employer who want to hold out against the new trend are forced to conform. If they allow their wages costs to rise above the industry average, they face loss of market share and flnancia1 distress.

Market testing, contracting-out, down-sizing and delayering are steadily transferring workers into much less secure work patterns. ?? the year 2000, full-time tenured will be a minority form of work. This will lead to mass unemployment, and as a result people will be unable to earn a living. This may laed to the uncertainty in the future, to the destruction of the personality and finally to the destruction of the society.

That is why the employment moves up the agenda of the policy of all governments.

The creation of economic and monetary union has tested the effectiveness of European labour markets in creating and developing job opportunities and nowadays many observers beleive unless the level of open unemployment starts to fall significantly over the next few years governments inside Emu will have difficulties in holding down their deficits and curbing their spending programmes in the line with the fiscal restraints and the level of social unrest could grow and undermine current efforts to develop more flexible and less regulated labour markets.

In this situation the last year EU treaty of Amsterdam set out the promotion of ?m?lo?ment as ‘? matter of common concern’ requiring ??-ordinated action. The employment chapter indicates ? much more sustained effort will have to be made over the next few years in improving the effectiveness of labour markers.

The emphasis should be on the creation and implementation of national employment plans drawn up by member states and bot on European-wide action. The aim is to accept “differing solutions and emphases in line with individual situations”.

The following developments were planned within a framework of EU employment guidelines:

*improving the employability of the young and long-term jobless.

*reviewing their existing benefit and training schemes and shifting the emphasis from passive measures  to more active moves in the labour markets.

*“easing the transition from school to work” to ensure young p???l? are better qualified for the labour market than in the past. Employers and trade unions are expected to play their part (removing obstacles to traineeships and work experience).

*urging member states to utilise new technologies and innovations in local labour market and in the social economies to create jobs that link needs to new work.

*reforming the tax systems of member states to make them more “employment-friendly”

*modernisation of work organisation, calculating of working time in an annualised rather weekly or monthly basis, cut in the number of hours worked by an employee without restrictions in the use of overtime, the development of part-time employment.

*creation of more adaptable which ensure “adequate security and higher occupational status compartible with the needs of business”

*strengthening equal opportunity policies in the labour market to facilitate the employment of women.

All these steps are being implemented within the framework of coordinated macroeconomic policies. It is hoped a “new dynamism and climate of confidence” will emerge to boost employment and re-energise European labour markets.

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Source by Michael Newman

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