The Slovenia Times

To reduce the Precariat we need a sound Political Will



Precarity is a still river that runs deep. Every now and then a public discussion is started about it. Some ten people gather in front of the ministry demanding better working conditions for individual groups of workers who are in especially difficult situations. And that's about it. The State is meanwhile busy promoting competition and economic growth, and labor unions are trying to rise the salaries of full-time workers. In a country with 2 million people, of which 754,000 are employed, the number of precarious workers is 322,000. Their future remains unresolved, concealed from the eyes of the public and far from being of any interest to the major media outlets.

The main problems of the precariat

At the Institute for Precariat Studies, we have studied the consequences of precarity from all aspects. Our research showed that precarious work is increasing social insecurity, the risk of falling below the poverty line and declining working conditions. But the negative impacts of precarious work are wider still. According to Professor Aleksandra Kanjo Mrčela - it is leading to the de-professionalisation of professions. And at the same time, as macroeconomist Professor Jože P Damjan warns, precarity is also reducing economic freedom. "In an environment without equal opportunities, only those individuals who come from wealthy families can be economically free," as he says. According to Metoda Dodič Fikfak, Head of the Institute of Occupational, Traffic and Sports Medicine the main problem we have is a lack of professionally recognised measures and the necessary standards to reduce the level of precarity in the public and private sector.

All social partners need to act now

To make a breakthrough and turn the trends of precarisation around it is mandatory that all those involved in the social discourse take their share of responsibility. Labour unions know that the ongoing rise of precariat and the precarisation of full-time employment are processes that remove their power and influence. Companies, with vision and insight into medium-term future, know that they can get more from full-time employees than they can from outsourced workers, possibly appointed by employment agencies. High ranking ministry representatives know that precarity, along with the ageing population, is forcing the State into higher social expenditure and lower revenue. The result is the falling standard of services for full-time employees and ultimately debt. The interest for solutions has to be mutual therefore.

2018 - High time for contemplating precarity

In June 2018 Slovenia will have parliamentary elections. A new government will be formed and new ministers chosen, providing an opportunity to make political change and implement social responsibility as a necessity to enable a long-term development. It is essential that we make use of the advantages mentioned at the beginning od this article, and that we start regulating work by finding a solution at both the national and international levels. If anywhere, Slovenia can be an innovator in the area of preserving and improving the quality of work. But it is, as Dodič Fikfak stressed, of vital importance that we take a step forward in the political sense first (at the party level). To start the process of real solution, the situation must be acknowledged and concrete solutions must be found in cooperation with experts and citizens before the next crisis.


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