Commission launches open debate: Modernizing
labour law to meet the challenges of the 21st century
Nov 22 2006 - The European Commission today launched a broad open public debate on
reviewing labour law and adaptation to the modern world of work. The
discussion paper will ask Member States, social partners and other
stakeholder how labour law at EU and national level can help the job market
become more flexible while maximizing security for workers (the 'flexicurity'
approach). The consultation will run over a period of four months and its
contributions will feed into in the upcoming Commission communication on
flexicurity in June 2007.
New types of contractual arrangements outside of permanent, full-time work are
increasingly common across the EU. Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for
Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities said: "These more flexible
arrangements are vital to confronting the effects of globalisation and demographic
ageing in our labour markets. At the same time, it is essential that workers do not
lose out in this process and that their call for greater security is heard. We want an
open debate on how labour law could be adapted both at EU and national levels to
reflect the new reality of work in Europe."
Rapid technological progress as well as globalisation have fundamentally changed
European labour markets. Fixed term contracts, part-time work, on-call and zerohour
contracts, hiring through temporary employment agencies and freelance
contracts have become an established feature of the European labour market,
accounting for 25% of the workforce. At the same time, there is a growing gap
between those looking for work, those in non-standard, sometimes precarious
contractual arrangements on the one hand (so-called 'outsiders'), and those in
permanent, full-time jobs on the other (the 'insiders').
Source: "Commission launches open debate: Modernizing
labour law to meet the challenges of the 21st century", Europa, Nov 22, 2006