Working-Time Changes

Working-Time Changes

Social Integration Through Transitional Labour Markets

Labour Markets and Employment Policy series

Edited by Jacqueline O’Reilly, Inmaculada Cebrián and Michel Lallement

Drawing on both quantitative longitudinal panel study data and qualitative case study material, the authors (whose expertise is drawn from the fields of economics, sociology and law) provide an original perspective on the nature and implications of Transitional Labour Markets in Spain, Sweden, Ireland, Britain, Germany, France and The Netherlands.

Foreword

Edited by Jacqueline O’Reilly, Inmaculada Cebrián and Michel Lallement

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, labour policy

Extract

Günther Schmid The reasons to look for new institutional arrangements to cope with structural change are straightforward. Unemployment in most post-industrial societies has risen to levels unprecedented in postwar history. In countries that face this phenomenon, rising levels of unemployment have led to persistent longterm unemployment. The economic and social problems related to this development are clear: the longer the exclusion from gainful employment, the higher the risk of also being excluded from full participation in social and political life. This holds especially true for women and for young people with low skills. This threat to social integration may even undermine the trust in the basic institutions of our democratic societies. An underlying assumption of this series is that a return to full employment in the traditional sense is highly unlikely or only at unacceptable social costs. If some countries have succeeded in recent years in reaching levels of unemployment similar to those in the 1960s, it has either been at the cost of high income differentials and increasing numbers of working poor, or many precarious employment relationships, especially for women, and more or less involuntary massive early retirement for many older workers. The objective of this project, therefore, is to seek alternatives to such ill-conceived responses to ‘globalization’ and ‘individualization’, which in different ways can generate forms of social exclusion. It is not only structural unemployment that is of concern, although this is the most visible change. More importantly, the underlying forces of balancing supply and demand on...