Project Description


Race to the bottom:
Europe’s Precariat

Dec. 30th, 2017

Europes Precariat

Selection of European Newspapers covering Investigative Europe’s research on labour. Credit: Christian T. Joergensen


Labour contracts without health and social insurance. Involuntary part-time. Fixed-term and agency jobs. Across the continent, millions of Europeans must deal with insecure and low-paid employment, though the economy, overall, is doing better than at any point in the last decade.

In the euro zone alone, more than five and a half million people found new jobs since the end of 2012. But four out of five are part-time or fixed-term and largely low-paid, according to Eurostat.

The majority of those affected want something else, namely permanent, full-time positions, the European Commission notes in its latest report on the EU labour market.

Europe’s job boom is mostly of “low quality”, concludes Merrill Lynch, the wealth management division of Bank of America. This is bad news for most.

“All these uncertain forms of work are extremely expensive for both the affected and the society,” warns Olivier Blanchard, until 2015 the long-serving chief economist of the International Monetary Fund.

But why has the “precarisation of labour”, as sociologists call it, reached this scale? And what must be done to stop it?

Media Partners

Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy
September 6th, 2017

“Norvegia, le politiche da copiare sul lavoro”
“Norwegian policies causing major raise of unemployments’ numbers”

Newsweek Polska, Poland
September 22nd, 2017

“Prekariusze z domina. Dlaczego polski rynek pracy to tykająca bomba?”
“Precarious work in Poland pushes poverty for young and even more for old people”
“Troels Lund er i skudlinjen i kold krig om børnepenge
“Governments in Eastern and Western Europe fight about child benefits in a cold war”

Stavanger Aftenblad
September 26th, 2017

“Mange vil heller jobbe 70 timer i uka enn 37,5”
“Many people will work 70 than 37,5 hours per week”

Falter, Austria
September 12th, 2017

“Die Flexibilisierungslüge”
“The myth of labour flexibilty”

Stavanger Aftenblad, Norway
September 21st, 2017

“Oppskriften som ikke virket – usikker jobb gir usikkert liv”
The recipe that did not work: Uncertain work makes for insecure life”
“Kald krig om Agnieszkas barnetrygd”
Governments in Eastern and Western Europe fight about child benefits in cold war”
“Det er håp for unge grekere. Bare ikke i Hellas”
“Young Greeks turn their backs to a dead labour market and miserable working conditions – Germany is calling”
“De stille tårenes land”
“The country of silent tears: Economic migrant families from Romania have paid for decent earnings with anxiety and tears of the nation’s children”

TAZ, Germany
November 18th, 2017

“Dorf ohne Mütter”
“Village without mothers”

Ugebrevet A4, Denmark
October 3rd, 2017

“Fire ud af fem nye job i EU er usikre job”
“Four out of five jobs in the EU are precarious jobs”

Pod Crto, Slovenia
October 3rd, 2017

“Mit prekarizacije: namesto gospodarskega razcveta slabša delovna mesta”
“Deregulation caused poor jobs instead of a booming economy”

Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy
September 29th, 2017

“Dieci anni di riforme: l’Europa del lavoro precario è in ginocchio”
“After ten years of reform Europe suffers from growing precariousness”

Público, Portugal
October 9th, 2017

“Como o aumento da precariedade está a mudar o discurso da UE”
“How precariousness made the EU change its speech on labour”
“Zerschlagenes Recht”
“How Romania sold it workers to foreign investors for IMF and EU cash”
“Comment le cimentier Lafarge a demandé et obtenu le démantèlement du droit du travail en Grèce”
“How the French cement manufacturer Lafarge asked for and obtained the dismantling of labour law in Greece”


“Η Γερμανία συχνά κινείται εκτός ευρωπαϊκής συναίνεσης”
“Interview with the Italian minister of finance; Pier Carlo Padoan, by Maria Maggiore and Nikolas Leontopulos”
“Pier Carlo Padoan: Italiens Finanzminister fordert eine europäische Arbeitslosenversicherung”
“Interview with the Italian minister of finance, Pier Crlo Padoan, by Maria Maggiore and Nikloas Leontopoulos”
“Szef agencji pracy tymczasowej o Ukraińcach w Polsce: To jest prawdziwa rewolucja”
“Interview with Tomasz Misiak, co-owner of one of Poland’s biggest temporary work agencies”, by Wojciech Ciesla

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