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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: L’emploi, mais quel emploi?

by L’Humanité

Work, but what work?

Translated Thursday 4 June 2015, by Adrian Jordan

Editorial by Paule Masson. "The fight for employment has no significance if it is synonymous with the destruction of social rights."

Great Britain has become a rich country full of paupers. In the temple of European liberalism, the conservatives vaunt of putting the country back on its feet “thanks” to austerity. True, unemployment is at its lowest since 2008 (5.6%). Employment is taking off but at what price? This is perhaps the only valid question. Because the country’s growth rests on an ocean of insecurity. Zero hour contracts have prospered on the back of the crisis. Employers do not fear hiring because they do not guarantee any work, no regular hours for the worker who is remunerated only for work undertaken and at a rate well below that of standard contracts. Miserable jobs: a toxic balm on unemployment figures which, more than ever, feed social exclusion while London prides itself on being the capital of billionaires.

When returning to work does not allow a dignified lifestyle, the objective of reducing unemployment statistics is rendered meaningless. Few unemployed, lots of paupers... Comforting words for liberals in Germany, where the unemployment rate has been brought down below the 5% mark, while poverty is at its highest level since reunification. Mini-jobs have helped devastate any guarantee which comes with employment contracts: 15 hours a week paying 400 euros a month... Underemployment to spare in the country held up as a “model” of European competitiveness.

The fight for employment has no significance if it is synonymous with the destruction of social rights. Germany: May 1 demonstrations in defence of the minimum wage. In France, despite the rain, processions were buzzing with disquiet over the “desocialisation” of employment. The booster needle jab always strengthens those resisting austerity.

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