Flexicurity

The labour market today is under severe pressure in all European countries. The crisis is (ab)used to change hard-won labour rights fundamentally, with negative consequences for the most vulnerable groups in the labour market. They are pushed more and more into precarious, temporary and inferior jobs with negative consequences for people living on the edge or in poverty. Poverty rates – even for those who have work – are rising alarmingly.

For the EU a harmonization of working conditions is the basis of their social model. For this purpose, the concept of ‘flexicurity’ has been elaborated. Flexicurity is a model based on a policy of easily dismissal and recruitment, simultaneously compensated by a generous social security system and an active employment policy. However, the crisis is making generous social policies and an active employment policy impossible. Flexicurity has now become  the fig leaf for a policy that breaks down social protection.

Starting from the observation that flexicurity is the basis of the current European social model, we wish to explore in this two-day working seminar, the potential for another social model that is based on the capabilities of people. This model starts from a different industrial model both socially and ecologically, and fights against poverty and precariousness.

On the first day we examine the impact of the crisis on the labour market with five testimonies from five EU countries. We explore the (im) possibilities of flexicurity for a European social model, its effects on poverty and precariousness. We examine the culture of the new capitalist model and promote discussion of another industrial model and therefore of an alternative labour model.

The second day explores the possibilities for change. Changes are possible, even for the good. Five successful large-scale actions in five different countries will be presented; each of them takes a new social model as its point of departure. Five moments of hope for a different futur.  Another social and industrial model needs successful action. We conclude with a broad discussion on the possibilities to influence the European social model.

Thursday, 15th of November 2012

Work and welfare in times of crisis in the EU: analysis

1 What do workers gain from flexicurity in times of crisis? by René Lehwess-Litzmann (Soziologisches Forschungsinstitut Göttingen (SOFI))

2 Workers’ rights and working conditions in free fall.

The state of play in

Sweden by Thomas Janson (TCO, director International Departement)

Germany– Armin Duttine (Verdi, member Economic and Social Committee)

Spain- Javier Urbina (UGT)

Belgium- Frans Dirix (ACV)

Portugal by Maria José Domingos (EAPN Portugal)

3 The restructurating of the European Social Model by Mahmood Messkoub ((University of Rotterdam and EUROMEMO GROUP)

Work and welfare in time of crisis: policy proposals

The macroeconomic conditions for a transformative social and employment policy by Jeremy Leaman (UK, LoughboroughUniversity and EUROMEMO GROUP)

Two important contributions from Jeremy Leaman you find here:

Halt to the neoliberal deformation of Europe 

The fiscal preconditions for a transformative social agenda

5 Round table and discussion with the public  moderated by Mary Murphy (University of Maynooth) with HIVA (Ides Nicaise, University of Louvain),  Euromemogroup (Mahmood Messkoub and Jeremy Leaman), CAPRIGHT (Robert Salais), Madariaga Foundation (Pierre Defraigne), ETUC (Ronald Janssen), and with René Lehwess-Litzmann (Soziologisches Forschunsinstitut Göttingen).

Civil society as a policy player to reconcile work and welfare: Strategies and Methods for action

6 Civil society alliance building around democratic, economic and social alternatives. Introduction by Mary Murphy (University of Maynooth)

7 Strategies and methods for action:

the example of CNCA (IT) by Mauro Giacosa

the example of the Poverty Alliance (UK) by Peter Kelly

the example of Contrat Social (Fr) by Christophe Robert

the example of “l’Appel des appels” (Fr) by Jean-Pierre Lanfrey

the example of Just Fair (UK) by Jamie Burton

7 Plenary Debate initiated by Mary Murphy

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