Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Another editorial piece woth noting:

Hard labour

Gordon Brown's pledge to introduce stronger rights for agency workers - and allow millions more employees to demand flexible working - is hard to swallow. This double dose of planned legislation would mark an extension of employment laws for which there is little need. Big employers will cope. But small businesses must be wondering what they did to deserve this body blow.


Downing Street's backing for union demands to give nearly 1.5m "temps" statutory rights to the same basic pay as permanent workers, albeit after a probable qualifying period of about 12 weeks, flies in the face of its earlier opposition to European Union proposals that should never have emerged from the deep freeze.


There is a limit to how much flexibility workplaces can accommodate. As more staff request flexible hours, the bias in favour of acceptance may weaken. Workers without children may resent having to cover for colleagues' absences. Bosses could say yes to staff they want to keep and no to those they can lose.

With the economic slowdown yet to bite, and unemployment starting to rise, this is the worst moment to introduce burdensome new employment law. Mr Brown should rethink before he makes another mistake.

Remember the rule:

  • when things are improving, you don't want to threaten the upwards movement;
  • when things are doing well, you don't want to cause the economy to slow down;
  • when things are turning south, you don't want to make things worse;
  • when things are going badly, it's the perfect time to "reform" and deregulate labor markets - workers will be in no position to resist.

There is no good time to share wealth with workers

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 18th, 2008 at 04:48:31 PM EST
"There is no good time to share wealth with workers" is surely the title of an article that needs to be written, because, beyond all the arcaneness of business that most people don't wish to understand, it is a simple arresting idea that doesn't require any knowledge of business. It is an explanation of why we're fucked.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun May 18th, 2008 at 05:41:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Definitely agree with this.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun May 18th, 2008 at 06:28:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome, you are a university economist. So isn't the conventional wisdom, that job protection measures are bad in the upswing, as enterprises don't want to employ new people, preventing unemployment going down fast, but good in the downturn, as enterprises can't get easily rid of the people they have?

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Sun May 18th, 2008 at 07:16:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is that it's never good, as I noted above. There is no good time for labor market rigidity, and no good time for wage increases.

But I'm not a university economist.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 19th, 2008 at 03:48:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To turn what Martin says into conventional wisdom would be a small victory.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 19th, 2008 at 06:49:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's refreshing (?) to see the word "flexibility" used so often... pejoratively.

The right of employers to demand and apply flexibility in ways that suit them: good.

The right of employees to obtain flexibility in ways that suit them: bad.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 19th, 2008 at 03:32:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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