In the framework of this opinion a hearing (Flexicurity And Restructuring) was organized in Stockholm, on 7 July 2011.
Please click on "Related sub-themes" below to see other opinions on this topic.
Gist of the exploratory opinion
In this opinion the EESC highlights certain aspects of the Flexicurity concept which it regards – in these times of crisis – as especially relevant for keeping as many people as possible in employment and giving people outside the labour market as many chances as possible to find a new job as quickly as possible. Employers and employees must work together in the context of the social dialogue to ensure that as many workers as possible are retained in the labour market.
It is more important than ever that flexicurity should not be understood as measures to facilitate the dismissal of workers. The EESC considers that measures enhancing the security side of flexicurity must currently be the top priority.
The crisis underlines the importance of internal flexicurity measures to allow companies to adapt to the sharp decline in orders without being forced to dismiss employees. Working time accounts and flexible working time arrangements have to be promoted by the social partners and be made as attractive as possible for companies and employees.
The crisis underlines the importance of social dialogue. The last months have shown how committed the social partners are to finding joint solutions for the pressing problems. The EESC proposes to the Swedish EU-Presidency and the EU Commission that a web-based platform be established to foster the exchange of experience with regard to these initiatives of the social partners.
At European level social partners are currently negotiating an autonomous framework agreement on inclusive labour markets. The EESC believes that a future agreement can have real added value for helping the most vulnerable people who have lost their jobs as a result of the crisis to get back into employment.
Given the national and regional specificities and the differences between sectors of industry, the Committee urges the Union to continue its work using a European approach and in compliance with the principle of subsidiarity. It is necessary to plan for a post-Lisbon process (Lisbon 2010 plus) to meet the goals not already attained and those that will emerge during the crisis. Flexicurity should certainly play an important role. The Committee believes that there should be balance in the scale on which flexicurity is applied.
The EESC stresses that the reform of the labour markets in the Member States should ensure that the number of insecure jobs offering more flexibility than security, which has steadily increased over the past few years, does not increase further.