Southern Europe: Can job flexibility and security mix?

Can a more flexible workforce also be secure? Prof. Eduardo Rojo Torrecilla of the Universidad de Girona says this is the central problem of work in Europe today. At the XIV annual meeting of ?Fomento Social? in November, the Spanish group of Jesuits in social science and social action, 30 Jesuits from Spain, Portugal and Italy met in Madrid to reflect on new forms of work. In Spain itself, much work is temporary or exists in small or medium-sized businesses with little incentive to create new jobs. Across Europe both work and workers have dramatically changed in character. As fast as jobs are created in the service and finance sectors, they are lost in industry, and ever more job-hunters are confronted by the new ?digital divide,? which marginalizes anyone untrained to handle information technology. Widespread sub-contracting and out-sourcing create jobs, but of what quality? The deregulation of the labour markets means that many work longer hours to maintain their standard of living. ?Fomento Social? proposes economic policy combined with collective agreements on labour flexibility; business incentives that open new jobs and favour first-time workers; social insurance adapted to new family arrangements and longer life-expectancy; economic solidarity (e.g., Grameen Bank, rotating micro-credits); and education policies for life-long learning. [HL20205]