Employment: The crisis, golden opportunity for employers

23 March 2012
Frankfurter Rundschau Frankfurt

Pressed hard by the recession and national debts, European governments are rewriting the labour law, whether watering down job protection or cutting wages. And employers are smiling.

In Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal, the crisis is raging. All of southern Europe has been laid low. All of southern Europe? Not exactly. Some people in these countries are seeing long-cherished wishes come true. One is Juan Rosell, head of the Spanish employers' organization CEOE, who has been calling for a relaxation of job protection for years. Now the government has heeded his call. “It won’t be the last labour market reform,” prophesies Rosell, scenting victory. The crisis is his opportunity.

Businesses in Europe have the upper hand. Under pressure from recession and national debt, governments are rolling back workers' rights across the board and pushing down labour costs. The aim is to make locations for investors cheaper and therefore more attractive. “Europe is on its way to becoming an entrepreneur's paradise – on the backs of the workers,” complains Apostolos Kapsalis of the Research Institute of the Greek Trade Union Federation, GSEE.

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Translated from the German by Anton Baer

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