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Italy, Labour market reform

Flexibility is bad for the liver

IN THE RADICAL PRESS / IL MANIFESTO

By Francesca Fornario

Job flexibility is like those diets that promise to make you lose weight quickly by eating only animal protein. The result, says the research , is that by swallowing steaks for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you will reach the goal of losing weight immediately, but will regain that weight as soon as you return to a healthy diet.

In addition, it poisons the liver. We need flexibility – as Italy’s PM Matteo Renzi and his labour minister Maurizio Sacconi tell us in chorus – to create new jobs. This is true because being able to renew a temporary contract up to five times creates five new jobs, but it’s like bragging about having built five new houses by constructing and demolishing the same building five times.

Economic research shows that increasing the flexibility of labour facilitates the creation of new jobs, but also their destruction, especially in times of crisis. In addition, it poisons the liver, which is a difficult concept to explain to a parliamentary majority that enthusiastically supported the government of Mario Monti, the PM who said “a fixed job is boring.”

Economic science tells us that the only proven result of an increase in flexibility is the loss of bargaining power by workers and a squeeze on their wages. The problem is that Italians – who are preparing to honour Saint John Paul II, patron of pedophile priests – like to believe in miracles.

Even in the one about the increase in jobs through flexibility. But then we curse about liver trouble when we have to transmigrate from one job to another at a speed such that behind the desk, instead of a calendar, we hang one of those parking disc clocks.

Translated/edited by Revolting Europe

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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