Europe’s Precariat

Labour contracts without health and social insurance. Involuntary part-time. Fixed-term and agency jobs.

December 2017

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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 eurozone 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?

Publications

The gig economy created a new class of precarious workers – now they start fighting back
The gig economy created a new class of precarious workers – now they start fighting back

Der Tagesspiegel, Germany

The myth of labour flexibilty
The myth of labour flexibilty

Falter, Austria

Italy’s finance minister calls for European unemployment insurance
Italy’s finance minister calls for European unemployment insurance

Der Tagesspiegel, Germany

Stay in or out of the European economic area
Stay in or out of the European economic area

Stavanger Aftenblad, Norway

The recipe that did not work: Uncertain work makes for insecure life
The recipe that did not work: Uncertain work makes for insecure life

Stavanger Aftenblad, Norway

Governments in Eastern and Western Europe fight about child benefits in cold war
Governments in Eastern and Western Europe fight about child benefits in cold war

Stavanger Aftenblad, Norway

Macron advisor says French labour reform will restore inequalities against workers
Macron advisor says French labour reform will restore inequalities against workers

EfSyn, Greece

Many people would rather work 70 hours per week than 37,5
Many people would rather work 70 hours per week than 37,5

Stavanger Aftenblad, Norway

Young Greeks turn their backs to a dead labour market and miserable working conditions – Germany is calling
Young Greeks turn their backs to a dead labour market and miserable working conditions – Germany is calling

Stavanger Aftenblad, Norway

The country of silent tears: economic migrant families from Romania have paid for decent earnings with anxiety and tears of the nation’s children
The country of silent tears: economic migrant families from Romania have paid for decent earnings with anxiety and tears of the nation’s children

Stavanger Aftenblad, Norway

After ten years of reform Europe suffers from growing precariousness
After ten years of reform Europe suffers from growing precariousness

Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy

Interview with Tomasz Misiak, co-owner of one of Poland’s biggest temporary work agencies
Interview with Tomasz Misiak, co-owner of one of Poland’s biggest temporary work agencies

Newsweek Romania, Romania

His boss is an app
His boss is an app

Stavanger Aftenblad, Norway

Four out of five jobs in the EU are precarious jobs
Four out of five jobs in the EU are precarious jobs

Ugebrevet, Denmark

Deregulation caused poor jobs instead of a booming economy
Deregulation caused poor jobs instead of a booming economy

Pod Crto, Slovenia

Where have all the mothers gone?
Where have all the mothers gone?

The Black Sea, Romania

How precariousness made the EU change its speech on labour
How precariousness made the EU change its speech on labour

Público, Portugal

How precariousness made the EU change its speech on labour
How precariousness made the EU change its speech on labour

infoLibre, Spain

Interview with the Italian minister of finance, Pier Carlo Padoan
Interview with the Italian minister of finance, Pier Carlo Padoan

EfSyn, Greece

How Romania sold out its workers to foreign investors for IMF and
How Romania sold out its workers to foreign investors for IMF and

The Black Sea, Romania

How Romania became an EU workers’ rights “guinea pig”
How Romania became an EU workers’ rights “guinea pig”

EUobserver, Belgium

Village without mothers
Village without mothers

taz, Germany

How Romania sold its workers to foreign investors for IMF and EU cash
How Romania sold its workers to foreign investors for IMF and EU cash

der Freitag, Germany

How the French cement manufacturer Lafarge asked for and obtained the dismantling of labour law in Greece
How the French cement manufacturer Lafarge asked for and obtained the dismantling of labour law in Greece

Basta!, France, Basta!

Social hold-up: How labour law was dismantled in Europe, at no benefit for labour or for people
Social hold-up: How labour law was dismantled in Europe, at no benefit for labour or for people

Basta!, France, Basta!

Labour reforms, the big lie of the eurocrisis
Labour reforms, the big lie of the eurocrisis

EfSyn, Greece

The big lie of the labour reforms – part II: The myth of the German miracle
The big lie of the labour reforms – part II: The myth of the German miracle

EfSyn, Greece

Norwegian policies causing major raise of unemployments’ numbers
Norwegian policies causing major raise of unemployments’ numbers

Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy

More and more jobs in Europe are being destroyed
More and more jobs in Europe are being destroyed

Dagens Arbete, Sweden

Precarious work in Poland pushes poverty for young and even more for old people
Precarious work in Poland pushes poverty for young and even more for old people

Newsweek Poland, Poland

Governments in Eastern and Western Europe fight about child benefits in a cold war
Governments in Eastern and Western Europe fight about child benefits in a cold war

Ugebrevet, Denmark

Arbeitsmarkt: Europas neue Reservearmee
Arbeitsmarkt: Europas neue Reservearmee

Der Tagesspiegel, Germany