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Pekka Kosonen and Jukka Vänskä

Our standpoint is that temporary employment is also related to employment security, since an extensive use of temporary work (for a specified, often short, period) tends to increase insecurity of the workers. Another problem is connected to lay-offs. However, the most crucial question deals with the termination of employment contracts, in particular undetermined duration contracts. If this is made very easy for the employers, employment security is reduced. Finally, the conditions and levels of compensation in all of these cases are of importance in terms of income and employment security.

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Flexible and Secure

Adaptability and the Employment Relationship

Joint Report Team

Adaptability under the guise of management first addresses – for obvious reasons, it being management – the corporate agency, aiming at the level of biographical processes, while impacting on the level of societal processes through the health of communities as agencies (families, neighbourhoods and communal services, to the extent that they depend on the employment, and employment provisions, of a corporate agency).

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Laurent L.G. van der Maesen

The main task of this article is to introduce the social quality initiative and to link its recent outcomes to aspects of employment policy. The initiative was launched during the Dutch Presidency in 1997 as a new academic approach to the circumstances of citizens in Europe, the Member States, regions, cities and communities. The idea of social quality arose out of the conflict between European economic and social policy – more specifically, the subordination of the latter to the former – and the lack of any distinct rationale for social policies. Two studies published by the Foundation provided the basis for the initiative’s development, and established the four objective conditional factors or components of social quality: Socio-economic security, cohesion, inclusion, and empowerment.

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Erzsébet Bukodi and Péter Róbert

European labour-market patterns tend to contain a growing element of flexible employment, which deviates from the norm of the secure, lifelong career. What do we mean by flexible work? Dex and McCullogh (1997) offer the following definition: ‘Flexible work … is a description of a change in the distribution of labour market jobs, away from standard full-time permanent employee contracts, and towards a growth in various types of non-standard employment forms.’ Pollert (1988) argues that flexibility refers to a combination of different factors. It involves firms being flexible enough to be able to respond quickly and efficiently to technological and economic changes; it also refers to organisations that are flexible in terms of employee numbers. In addition, it refers to a workforce that is multi-skilled and/or flexible with regard to time. This may result in a trend for firms to retain ‘core ’employees who work flexibly, with a periphery of employees who are flexible because they are irregularly employed. The result of this process is that employment is no longer as stable as it was. The development of the new, flexible labour market undermines security, leading to the so-called ‘risk society’ (Crompton et al.,1996).

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Heloísa M. Perista and Pedro Perista

This paper is organised into six main parts: first, this introduction outlines some general features of the Portuguese labour market; the second part deals with the main characteristics of employment relations; part 3, ‘Working time ’, provides some further observations regarding employment, focusing on the number and distribution of working hours, and on workers subjective considerations; part 4, ‘Income security ’, analyses a number of indicators concerning remuneration and social protection; part 5, ‘Forms of care leave ’, further develops the issue of social protection in its specific relation to leave for care purposes, and the possibility of combining care responsibilities with professional activity; finally, part 6 discusses the issue of flexicurity in Portugal, and its trends. It should be noted that,due to the unavailability of harmonised European data for all the relevant issues, we have had to resort to national data. However, for some indicators (fortunately few), it was not possible to gather the appropriate data. In these cases, the unavailability of data is referred to in the text.

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Ton Korver

This report seeks to answer several basic questions concerning the employment situation in the Netherlands. The focus is on flexicurity, in other words the combination of secure and flexible employment from a lifetime perspective. Ultimately, secure employment comes down to employability, to a worker’s employability throughout her career, whether she works for one employer or for more than one.A single career may span many employers and many functions and jobs, according to the preferences of workers and companies. Flexibility seeks to adapt employment to the needs of the employing organisation, and thus to provide three key elements: employability for the employee; adaptive employment for the company or organisation; a system of social security enabling the employee to make the required transitions. Employability requires training and development, work of a quality to improve the skills of the employee, and a balanced combination of work, care and leisure, enabling the employee to maintain continuous participation in both work and other areas of life. From this perspective social security should not merely make work pay, it should also make transitions pay, whether these are from one job to another, one employer to another, one level of skill to another or from one combination of work and care to another.

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Vyacheslav Nikolayevitch Bobkov, Olesya Veredyuk and Ulvi Aliyev

This article exposes criterial bases of the development of social quality in the USSR and Russia. The causes of the increased volatility of the state-monopoly capitalism emerging in Russia from the 1990s and in the first decade of the twenty-first century are analyzed. Characteristics of social quality such as a high proportion of low-paid employees, a low standard of living and a high economic inequality are considered. The impact of the precarity of employment on these processes is demonstrated. Risk factors of precarity of employment such as type of labor contract, form of employment, working conditions and wages (in particular, volatility and discreteness of payments) are analyzed. The evaluation of scale of the precarity of employment in the formal sector in Russia is made; the distribution of workers in precarity of employment by kinds of economic activity and the deviation of their average wages are introduced. Overcoming the instability of development is linked to the transition to a society of people-humanistic socialism.

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Margit Mayer

German nonprofits active in support work for unemployed and marginalized groups have undergone significant transformation in the context of recent social and labor market reforms. Drawing on the findings of a three-year research project on such local work-insertion organizations in Berlin, the article discusses some of the problems and potentials of nonprofits in the reshaping of welfare and employment policies. It shows how the service providers implementing these new policies and delivering the new benefits face a new competition from private, for-profit agencies as well as constraints set by the formal contracts which the new instruments entail. As they now have to deliver enhanced self-activity of their clients, are called upon to nurture and make use of "social capital" in their work fields, and are involved, as civil society "stakeholders," in new local partnerships between the municipality, the employment office and private sector actors, they lead us to question prevailing views in the voluntary sector scholarship.

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Jozef Pacolet and An Marchal

What’s in a name? ‘Social quality’ is an attractive yet vague concept. It has an appeal in the context of post-industrial aspirations to rise above the quantitative and the material, towards qualitative, immaterial goals; it emphasises ‘social’ aspects that lie beyond individualistic preoccupations and are oriented towards considerations of collectivity and solidarity. These aspects can be represented in terms of two dimensions (Figure 1), where the notion of social quality is situated in the upper left quadrant. But does this show the real content of this ‘container concept’, and does it reflect present everyday reality? The concept of social quality has been adapted (or rather adopted) in the context of the labour market in terms of the notion of ‘flexicurity’. We shall discover that to an important extent this notion includes both ends of the dimensions; in other words, it is not what it seems.

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Social Quality in Everyday Life

Changing European Experiences of Employment, Family and Community

Sue Yeandle

In this article the concept of 'social quality' is invoked as a way of exploring the impact, relevance and potential of policy and social structural developments for citizens' everyday lives. As a concept, 'social quality' embraces a range of themes each of which has received extensive sociological attention: social cohesion and solidarity as crucial elements in both citizenship and in social institutions such as family, neighbourhood and workplace; autonomy and empowerment as central to the individual's sense of identity and self-worth; economic security, which underpins everyday life and enables people to engage in everyday activities and to approach their future without fear of poverty; and social inclusion, the involvement of individuals in social, economic and cultural aspects of collective life.