On the eve of the Informal Tripartite Social Summit on Flexicurity to be held in Lahti, Finland on the 19 and 20th October 2006, the European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN) urges EU Prime Ministers to make sure that Flexicurity is used to deliver social cohesion and to contribute to the eradication of poverty, for people who are outside the labour market or already stuck in the worse paid, precarious employment.
EAPN is increasingly worried about the direction of the current debate, heralding Flexicurity as the miracle cure for all EU ills. Behind the current political rhetoric about the importance of a balanced approach to flexibility and security, there seems to be an even greater desire to jump to employer’s demands to flexibilise labour law at all costs. The decision by the Commission to delay the publishing of the long-awaited Green Paper on labour law, because of pressure by UNICE, only underlines this fact.
“The current emphasis appears to be too much on making it easier to hire and fire workers, using punitive “make work pay” and “activation policies” to pressure unemployed and vulnerable people into low paid and often precarious jobs, whilst cutting benefits and people’s access to services”, EAPN Director Fintan Farrell declared. “We are concerned that the so-called balanced approach could turn into “flexexploitation”. This cannot be a strategy for socially ethical growth and is only likely to lead to more poverty and social exclusion, for both those in the poorest jobs and those who are furthest from the labour market, as well as undermining basic social values of the EU.”
EAPN therefore calls on the EU ministers to give urgent priority to assessing the impact of Flexicurity policies on people experiencing poverty and to actively involve all stakeholders including people experiencing poverty themselves and the NGOs that support them in the debate. EAPN sets out some essential principals for ensuring a positive flexicurity debate.
EAPN Key Demands:
1) Embedding Flexicurity in an integrated global strategy for decent work, decent income, and a high level of social protection.
2) Ensuring income security and adequate income for a dignified life
3) Guaranteeing access to services
4) Active inclusion and empowerment
5) Defending employment protection and promoting upward flexibility
6) Promoting integrated lifelong learning
7) Tackling the “Poor Job Trap” rather than “Make Work Pay”
8) Investing in flexibility that meet employee’s needs.
9) Impact assessments, monitoring and evaluation.
10) Participation and partnership: No talk about us, without us!
For further information, please contact Audrey Gueudet (Information officer) or Fintan Farrell (Director), tel. +32 2 230 44 55 – fax. +32 2 230 97 33 – E-mail: email@example.com – Website: www.eapn.org