Rolf-Dieter Hepp | Sibel Kalayciouglu – Section report – Ankara Memorandum

TRANS: Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 18. Nr.     Juni 2011

Plenarbeiträge | Planary contributions

International Conference on Social Precarity
Precarity and Precarisation in the Light of EU-Integration

25-26-27 November 2010, M.E.T.U. – Middle East Technical University
Ankara, Turkey

 Ankara Memorandum

Ending Precarity – Acting Now for Sustainable Future

Document and Recommendations approved from the partecipants to the
Intl. Conference on the 27th November 2010

Rolf-Dieter Hepp (Freie Universität Berlin, Germany) [BIO] | Sibel Kalayciouglu (M.E.T.U. – Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey) [BIO]

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 Konferenzdokumentation |  Conference publication

The Need of a Correct Interpretation: The Complexity of Changes

1. National societies are today changing in several respects – part of the changes being actively induced by the main political and economic actors, part of them being reactions, taking new external conditions into account. These are complex processes, some of the external processes of course consequences of prior active changes on the national level; and changes emerging from above and below.
The complexity means also that contradictions emerge as part of the change. As major issues we acknowledge the frequently highlighted issues being the most pertinent: globalisation, changes of the productive forces, demographic changes, environmental threats.

The Need of a New Vision of Work

2. Among the multitude of challenges for political action are those arising in connection with the development of work, standing (a) for sustenance, (b) the contribution to permanently constituting and maintaining the social (communities and society at large) and (c) standing also for social valuation as part of the overall process of socialisation and work in the understanding of employment. The new conditions which had been referred to in the first point allow and demand new views on work in the first understanding whereas employment still follows the traditional patterns.

The Need of a Common Awarness: Changes in Work and Society

3. As consequence we find major shifts that can be broadly subsumed under the term precarity, taking various forms as atypical work, flexibilisation of working times, multiple-job dependency, insecurity of labour contracts and the like, but also the undermining of reliable mechanisms of social support in particular stemming from social security systems. We understand precarity as an issue that is among other disadvantages leading to a lack of resources or at least the reliability of income.

The Need of a Common Definition

4. This is, however, a wider process and allows for a definition of social precarity as a lack of people’s ability to participate in the social-economic, cultural, juridical and political life of their communities under conditions which enhance their well-being and individual potentials for contributing to societal development as well.

This definition underlines that the economic and social progress of the Member States and the constant improvement of living and working conditions of their peoples as the EU’s objectives are thwarted by the labour market and necessary cohesion is undermined.

Reccomendation 1 – Strenghtening Social Cohesion

5. In both respects, policies are immediately challenged by securing and stabilising sufficient income, be it via employment or social benefit systems in the widest sense (unemployment benefits, social insurance etc.) and also by securing social inclusion, social integrity and social cohesion and the people’s ability to act. Otherwise the deformation of labour markets and the accompanying cleavages of societies, which can be observed in several EU-member states, predominantly in the UK, Germany and Italy, will spread further, thus deepening the cleavages in the countries concerned and in the EU as a whole.

Reccomendation 2 – Defining Two Areas of Precarity

6. There are two faces to precarity and precarisation. On the one hand it effects people from the traditional working class – here it is especially closely linked to issues of working poor, indecent work, casual work and the like. On the other hand we find more recent developments, namely the changes in the working life and employment conditions and outlook of groups of which the position in employment and professional status had been hitherto secure – features here are for instance work in projects over limited times, involuntary self-employment, multiple jobs, self-employment with major dependencies from larger enterprises and the like.
Taking this as background, the network proposes to elaborate the exact forms and scope of precarity on ‘regular work arrangements’ on the one hand and within ‘atypical settings’ on the other hand. It also needs to be investigated which consequences arise from the two different patterns for the welfare systems and welfare provisions.

Reccomendation 3 –  Flexicurity: The Necessity of Cooperation

7. Immediate political action is required to make flexicurity work. This has to ensure a close and enforced cooperation between the different actors, namely the securing instances (unemployment offices, social welfare offices, social insurances etc.), the enterprises and the employees. Two principles are of utmost importance: (a) no new position of the employee can be enforced and actually comprehensive guidance is part of every change that may be envisaged. (b) No change in the employment position is implemented before a concrete “plan for security and change” is agreed by the employee.

Reccomendation 4 –  A New Role of the Unions and Collective Bargaining

8. We, the members of the European network on precarity (SUPI), recommend strongly that Unions analyse thoroughly the critical developments on labour markets outside the sector, which is regulated by bargaining agreements or other collective or legal provisions, and put more emphasis on the representation of men and women in atypical employment.

Reccomendation 5 –  The Role of Governments

9. We recommend further that national or regional governments introduce or reintroduce regulation to make sure that the nature of the employment contract and the capital-labour-relationship in general correspond to a fair compromise between capital‘s justified interest in efficiency and flexibility on the one hand and the interest in a self-determined life-style of the citizens on the other.

Reccomendation 6 –  A New Role for the EU

10. We finally recommend, that the EU and its institutions take action in the following fields: 1. guaranteeing the strict principle of equal pay for equal work; 2. guaranteeing transitional rights to atypical workers; 3. complementing the working time directive by introducing the collective rights for workers to request flexible working hours, a full-time contract, a part-time contract or a return to full-time/part-time contracts.

S.U.P.I. – International Conference on Precarity and Precarisation – Ankara, 27th of November 2010

TRANS  Inhalt | Table of Contents 18. Nr. INST

For quotation purposes:
Rolf-Dieter Hepp | Sibel Kalayciouglu: Section report 2.11. – Ankara Memorandum –
In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 18/2011.
WWW: Webmeister: Gerald Mach     last change: 2011-06-21