Modern Slaves 4

The Biagi law or rather its application has caused precariousness of work contracts and the lowering of salaries together with the use of highly trained professionals: engineers, technicians, computer experts, to do work of low or very low level. This is what you have told me, this is your testimony that I will pull together into a book: “The Modern Slaves” to be published by the summer on this blog. The book will be downloadable free and the paper version will be for sale.

It seems to me that the Biagi Law needs the following 2 modifications to be applied immediately:

- increase the pay of the “precarious” people with respect to those who have a permanent contract with a tax policy that supports those who are “precarious”

- place a cap on the percentage of workers that a company can employ as “precarious”, for example: 10%.
The Nobel laureate for the Economy Joseph E. Stiglitz has sent me this analysis of the job market in Italy.

There you go, a Nobel Laureate writing to a commedian!

“Dear Beppe,

I get alarming news from Italy: the law about the first job in France is withdrawn after a few weeks of student protests and yet with you in Italy the Law 30 is still is still being used after all these years and it is without opponents. Allow me then a brief reflection. No opportunity is more important than the opportunity to have a job. Policies aimed at increasing the flexibility of work have often seen the lowering of salary levels and a decrease in job security. But flexibility of work has been dominating the debate about the economy in recent years. However, these policies have not kept the promise to guarantee higher growth and lower unemployment rates. In fact, these policies often have perverse consequences for economic performance. For example they cause a lower demand for goods, because of lower levels of income and greater uncertainty and also because of an increase in family indebtedness.

A lower aggregate demand level, in turn, causes lower employment levels. Any programme aimed at growing social justice must start with a commitment aimed at the full use of existing resources and in particular of Italy’s most important resource: Italy’s people.

Even though in the last 75 years, economic science has told us how to manage the economy better, so that the resources are used to the full, it’s true that recession has been les frequent and less serious, many of the policies applied have not been up to the aspirations. Italy needs better policies aimed at supporting aggregate demand; but it also needs structural policies that go beyond that – without being entirely dependent on the flexibility of work. These policies include action on programmes to develop instruction and knowledge, and action aimed at facilitating mobility in the job market.
I share the idea for which the rigidity that is an obstacle to economic growth must be reduced. Nevertheless we believe that every reform that brings about an increase in insecurity for workers must be accompanied by an increase in social protection measures.
Without that, the flexibility is transformed into precariousness.

These measures are obviously costly. Legislation cannot provide for flexibility to be associated with lower salaries; paradoxically, the greater the probability of being sacked, the lower the salary. It should really be the reverse. Even liberal economic theory teaches that if you want to buy a high-risk bond (like the Argentine ones or Parmalat ones –with a high risk of being transformed into waste paper) you expect very high rates of interest in return.
Salaries paid to flexible workers should be higher and not lower because their likelihood of being sacked is higher. In Italy a “precarious” worker has 9 times the chance of being sacked than a regular worker. At the end of their contract they have 5 times less chance of finding another job than a regular worker. But up to 40% of precarious workers are graduates.
But if we want them to serve out chips or work in Call Centres, why do we spend so much money for their instruction?
Thank you for your attention.”
Joseph E. Stiglitz

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 11:32 AM in | Comments (12)
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Mitico Beppe,
even a Nobel sent you a letter. That's really something. But not just because of the Prize. Rather is because of the issues.
About your progressive proposals...
In order to give up the bad habit of the italian employers [who love protest against the high labor costs, strong utilization of unlawful job, etc.] I would add a couple of things:

1 Why don't we put more money in research in order to produce in the future the same (or whatever) we are producing today but without pollution at all, in a more human being friendly way? I know it's hard to believe, but what's wrong with this?

2 The flexible workers don't look all the same. But they do all know which are the rights of the others they're missing. So why don't ask them which changes would they suggest? I hope Prodi and company were also listening to us during the May Day Parade...and not only caring about some fascists going around!

Goog luck Beppe,

Posted by: emil bertocchi | May 2, 2006 11:55 PM

Only 10 messages...

A very poor result, Beppe... Isn't it?

Thousands of graduated boys and girls... and no one of them who has the bravery and the pride (so.. are they as clever as you always say?) to reply their reasons to the whole world...

A good chance to send a message to the guys of other European Countries.. Perfectly wasted!

P.S.: I'm an Italian young worker, I've just finished school, but I've not finished to fight for my rights!

Ciao, Mondo!!!!!!!

Posted by: Kurt Gerstein | April 30, 2006 09:28 PM

UK has less unemployement just because "some time" ago a "lady" just changed the configuration of the UK industrial system, which today rely briefly, as contrary in Italy and other countries in Europe, on Financial Services, High Tech, Heavy Army and Upstream Oil Tech. Those sectors are the only which are not under pression by other continents' competition (eg Far East). If you have employers in a country capable to absorb employees; contrattini, training centers and employement services are just a "ciliegina" on the cake.
If we still rely on employers who has invested their money, not long time ago, on textile sector, can you explain me where we find new jobs today...
And if we have still universities which instead of being the engine for new industrial districts, just produce obsolete "laureati", can you explain me how will we re-train those guys in the training centers???
There is so much work to do in Italy that is not understood by our politicians and employers that sometimes it makes me believe we are running w/o direction and will finish as a place where to be only for holidays...

Posted by: stefano | April 27, 2006 10:11 PM

I would like to make a comment about how unemployment has been tackled seriously in the United Kingdom to the point that the projects started by the Employment Services in the UK were exported elsewhere by the ODA in Commonwealth Countries with quite some success.

I was a part of this programme way back in 1991 at a time when unemployment was really striking a sore 10% in the UK and the governmnt then thought it was time to grab the bull by the horns, introducing a serious way of managing the unemployed.

Job Centres were created. In these centres the unemployed went once a week to register themselves as umemployed in order to get social benefits. Yet the idea was that, in order to get benefits from the state, you had to give the state something in return - the possibility of becoming employable through training and job flexibility.

This meant that first and foremost, there had to be a substantial difference between unemployment benefit and regular wages. Secondly, people who went on training were paid for their training period. Thirdly, companies employing people who had been on a Job Centre programme received tax benefits. In short, the programme which, at first, was looked at with a lot of suspicion, became successful.

Youth Training also became an integral part of the employment services. This same programme was wholly imported by Malta in the early 90s with a great success, and the Employment & Training Centre was formed, doing away with the Labour Office which still functioned on older laws.

The results speak for themselves. Employability in the UK and in many other countries with the same approach towards unemployment is very high. There are lower ranges of unemployable people. Of course, it is true that at 55+ years it will be hard to get employed in many cases but not if you are trained well.

The problem in Italy lies with these "contrattini". Allow me to add that such contracts, sometimes, smell of fraud, or "truffa". I can mention to you a few such cases or, worse still, cases where honest people worked hours and hours of honest labour for dishonest employers who then declared bankruptcy and opened other companies with other names.

With these little insignificant contracts, people are literally paid peanuts, they have no rights whatsoever, they are not covered with social benefits and yet they still pay 20% tax at source. I dare ask, 20% tax for what when many do not even manage to gain 5,000 Euros in one year??? And who can survive decently on about 4,000 Euros once the tax is paid? My pets cost me more than that in upkeep.

There is no SERIOUS worker protection in Italy. Yes, there are big Unions to safeguard workers but, I assure you, in many cases workers' rights are not guaranteed at all.

I am sure many of you know better than me how the Labour law works here but if the problem is not tackled seriously, then there will always be a high percentage of unemployed people; a lot of young qualified graduates will end up serving coffees in a bar or cooking pizzas in order to earn a few Euros; a great number of persons over 50 years of age will not be able to find work because they are considered "old".

These are the sad facts in a country that has to update its social services which are a crying shame! The idea of leaving more money in the pockets of workers can be made to happen if there are adequate laws AND structures to apply those same laws and regulations that safeguard all workers.

I still have the whole project concept on the setting up of the Job Centres and Employment Services, Youth Training and Job Interview Guarantee for Professionals. Perhaps Prodi should take it into consideration. It has been, perhaps, one of the most rewarding experiences for me, but better still, a step forward towards less unemployment and more fruitful workers with a decent salary. The greatest satisfaction you get is when a person gets employed and stays in that job, that way he earns decent money, gets promoted and moves on in life and in his career.

Believe me, with some will power and common sense, a lot can be done other than the talk-talk-talk we are used to hear from politicians.

Posted by: Joselle Camilleri | April 27, 2006 03:10 AM

Well, I just had a look in the italian newspapers and they are talking about this law.( , , They say that there is no differences between now and before. So, what we are talking about, Grillo? It's the second time you are coming on this subject.
On the other hand there is a TV program about unemplyed people in Europe on they are going to make a thema on that subject for 4 hours (In french or in German)
They will analize what is good and what is wrong in Europe and in the world with some personalities coming from different countries. Till now, a german and a french are agreeing on one point: If people can easely descharge a worker they also can easely take in charge another one and they give an example between France and Germany where people searching for a job, need several months before to find one, while in England, they need just one or two weeks.
The jobs creators are generally small companies but the problem is that there is so much rules and contraintes that they are afraid to risk to take a new worker.
So, they prefer to work the double or to refuse orders. So,Grillo, who are the slaves here?
Everybody knows that in Europe job costs are too expensive but nobody is able to do anything to change the situation. All the politicians and unions are waiting that something will arrive to change the situation but they don't do anything because they are afraid to loose their place. What they are waiting I don't know. Maybe a war? A tsunami or something like this?
In any case, is certainly not a flat Prodi who will be able to change anything.
In my opinion, a very strong oil crisis will arrive soon and 70% of the jobs, will be lost. It's cruel to say and even crazy to imagine but this will change completely our societies and this kind of chats and blogs will be ridiculous in front of that. Just imagine if there will be no electricity how you can switch on the computer.
The survivors will be those people with good hands and brains to invent a job by theyrselves or to produce food or energy for himself and the neighbours.

Posted by: blisco jaio | April 26, 2006 07:35 PM

by the way... what the hell has to do not to purchase extra-european made products with the Biagi-law and the lack of social protection measures? Ok, we must support european economy, and make our industrial production competitive, but that's another matter than increasing of precariousness passed off as flexibility. I don't think that if the production grows, that will automatically turn into more social justice and labour protection.
Prodi must at once amend the Biagi-law, that's the way!

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | April 26, 2006 07:25 PM

Of course you are right, Prince, comico = comedian. My comment was an answer to all those guys who are always complaining about Beppe's translations.
In this case the translation of omico with comic is unusual but not totally wrong!

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | April 26, 2006 07:03 PM

Getting to the point, Mr Stiglitz summarized all what was not seen (or deliberately ignored) by the Italian Government.
Right now I would like to know if the average italian citizen is aware of this or is just living in a limbo where is maybe thinking that something or somebody would come back to fix the actual situation.
A good starting point would be to inform the italian citizen to make a point to not purchase extra-european made products and demand the origin of products made by domestic companies.
When this information will be provided will be up to the citizen to decide whether to buy the product(s) or not.
Right now it appears to me that all those parameters involved are not understood by the majority of people: when this aspect will be solved, everything will be more clear as well as the direction of the plan of action.

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | April 26, 2006 06:39 PM

Here in U.S., somebody like Beppe Grillo is called "Comedian".

His american Alter Ego is, I think, George Carlin.

Who agrees with me?

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | April 26, 2006 06:29 PM

From English-Italian dictionary Zanichelli:
Comic: attore di rivista (o di varietà); comico

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | April 26, 2006 05:39 PM

need a traslator Beppe?

PS: are you a really just a comic or a flesh and bone comedian as I thought???

per risolvere i problemi di lavoro di tanti giovani, inizia tu ad assumere un traduttore che si puo dire tale...

Posted by: Matthew Pilgrims | April 26, 2006 05:28 PM

Dear Beppe,
I'm entirely with you on this issue, however we must provide our "nobelprize" with some more accurate information.

"I get alarming news from Italy: the law about the first job in France is withdrawn after a few weeks of student protests and yet with you in Italy the Law 30 is still is still being used after all these years and it is without opponents."

So, in France they have the law about the first job (stagier and CDD contracts). The first permits the companies not even paid the employees and the second is very flexible where the timing depends on the assignment you could receive, sometimes can be even only a week and the paying is very low.

What in France has been rejected is a contract called CPP which wanted to address only people under 26 permitting the companies to laid off within the period of contract even without "faut grave".

I hope this further information may help your book become more effective….


Posted by: stefano | April 26, 2006 03:24 PM

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