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Employment
In the last years, unemployment and precarisation of living and working conditions have dramatically increased in many European countries. In Spain and Greece, more than a quarter of the active population is jobless, and this rate has risen to over 50% with regard to youth unemployment. Current trends in Europe are also highlighting the fact that having a job in itself does not protect a person from poverty. According to Eurostat statistics, more than 8% of employees within the EU are considered as the “working poor”.
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This situation, to some extent, has resulted from the growing numbers of contracts without job security, either on a part‑time basis or of limited duration. Moreover, in a context characterised by greater inequalities, forcing workers to compete with one another leads to a levelling down of working conditions, with the best‑protected employees ultimately seeing their situation slowly deteriorate.

This kind of competition is particularly visible between those regarded as “insiders” (those benefiting from already stable contracts, usually working in highly productive sectors) and “outsiders” (those recruited on a more flexible basis, often through temporary employment agencies, and mainly working in services or outsourced production activities). The levelling down of working conditions is also linked to de facto competition from undeclared workers.

The conditions imposed on migrants, especially those in irregular or illegal situations, are particularly alarming. Their vulnerable status often forces them to take on underpaid jobs in very poor working conditions, jeopardising their health (handling dangerous chemicals with no protection, long working hours, and so on). This is occuring particularly in sectors where few certified skills are required, such as catering, construction, farm or domestic work.

In this context of the precarisation of living and working conditions, several experiences are proposing different approaches towards improving work. Below are some examples.

Image Pictures by Marjan Lazarevski, Brunolaon, Coroutine, Rimaflow and Inkyhack

Examples of the different types of ACTIONS (in orange) and POLICIES (in green) that seek to provide access to decent working conditions as well to rethink employment and its role in accessing resources.

Co-working

This practice consists in sharing a collaborative environment for work. Co-workers are usually self-employed workers, students or people working for different organisations that look for a space to develop their activities. It generally enables access to a desk, space for meetings, and material - the costs of which are being supported by the community of co-workers, such as high-tech equipment. It also provides a creative and inspiring environment for the people involved in the project.

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Re Federico Co-working

Auteur : alessandra sciurba - Publié le : 2013-04-26 13:14 -

Re Federico is a co-working space that experiments with new forms of economic collaboration. Development of a collective incubator of network enterprise in the cultural and environmental education areas.

Coroutine Lille

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-04-19 13:18 -
coroutine_lille

The Coroutine is a hybrid space made by and for citizens providing an environment to work (co-working), exchange ideas, info, goods and services around the local life (“Veilleuse”+citizenlab) create, innovate and design new objects and concepts with different available tools (fablab+incubator).

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One person = one voice

Organisations and businesses can be structured in very different ways. Some of the structuring consists in placing workers on an equal footing. This implies enabling each worker to take part in the decision-making process and to give the same value to his/her voice. The experiences based on the principal “one person = one voice” may have different internal organisation structures. In some cases an assembly of workers meets regularly to take decisions, in others there is a rotation of tasks which means that each worker is, at a certain point, part of the administration board. The principle of equal footing is quite often being chosen by former employees who have suffered the effects of a failed enterprise. This much is evident in the experiences of Ri-Maflow in Italy, Mol-matric in Spain or Ambiance Bois in France (here, workers also decided to receive an equal wage regardless of the task being performed). The Spanish and French experiences have been on-going for more than 25 years, demonstrating in this way the sustainability (in terms of time, for instance) of these models.

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Solidarity Bulgaria (SB)

Auteur : Maria Jeliazkova - Publié le : 2013-08-13 14:20 -

Solidarity Bulgaria is a discussion network of citizens believing in the values of freedom, solidarity and justice. The initiative promotes discussions on important social issues, ranging from poverty to social security to housing. The Group is active in social & environmental issues as well as standards of living. The aim is to empower civil society and restore solidarity through active discussions, public initiatives, drafting of legal changes and elaboration of position papers.

BIOME- Self-managed factory

Auteur : Mariani Papanikolau - Publié le : 2013-08-02 12:45 -

A Trade Union that is fighting for the independent operation and self-management of their abandoned factory.

Ri-Maflow

Auteur : alessandra sciurba - Publié le : 2013-04-16 08:04 -

After the closure of a factory, some laid-off workers occupy it, giving rise to a new cooperative by starting a project of production reconversion in the direction of environmental sustainability. They thus create new workspaces and income.

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Limiting working hours

In societies characterised by high levels of unemployment (but also over-work, stress and low well-being) with little time for social and domestic work, limiting the working week whilst maintaining respectable wages is appearing as a path that could lead towards greater well-being for all.

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Separating work from access to resources

Even though the money earned from paid working activities is still the main way to access resources in European societies, it is not the only path. Other initiatives and practices propose alternative ways to access different resources.

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Introducing a basic income

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-16 14:15 -

The introduction of a basic income – now demanded by numerous movements in Europe – consists in a regular income paid by a political community to each of its members on an individual basis and unconditionally.

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For other examples, click on: Alternative Economies

Accessing dignified work

As mentioned, low-income and low-profile work are often characterised by irregular or poor working conditions. Norms and practices can help to improve the situation towards more dignified working conditions.

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Business centre for people with disabilities

Auteur : Maria Jeliazkova - Publié le : 2013-08-13 15:14 -

By working with and for people with disabilities, the project aims to provide equal opportunities and better life chances for them. The activities simultaneously increase the level of public awareness on issues of people with disabilities and lobby for their rights.

Solidarity Bulgaria (SB)

Auteur : Maria Jeliazkova - Publié le : 2013-08-13 14:20 -

Solidarity Bulgaria is a discussion network of citizens believing in the values of freedom, solidarity and justice. The initiative promotes discussions on important social issues, ranging from poverty to social security to housing. The Group is active in social & environmental issues as well as standards of living. The aim is to empower civil society and restore solidarity through active discussions, public initiatives, drafting of legal changes and elaboration of position papers.

Association of home-based workers, Bulgaria

Auteur : Maria Jeliazkova - Publié le : 2013-08-13 13:34 -

Strengthening the movement of home-based workers, the Association (AHBW) in Bulgaria is the first organisation of informal workers in Eastern Europe. It is a non-governmental organisation based on membership and democratic governance, i.e. it takes a bottom-up approach. It is an initiative to make visible home-based workers as well as protect their social and economic rights. It operates at the national and regional level.

Social Training - Professional Centre

Auteur : Maria Jeliazkova - Publié le : 2013-08-13 09:37 -

Improving the livelihood and social status of vulnerable people by establishing a social enterprise: the project aims to establish and develop a municipally-supported social enterprise in order to provide secured employment of disadvantaged people in Dimitrovgrad, thus improving their quality of life.

NGO Diogenis and its street magazine Shedia

Auteur : Mariani Papanikolau - Publié le : 2013-08-02 11:33 -

An NGO working to support the rights of homeless people; through a wide range of activities, it assists homeless and socially excluded people in their struggle to join or rejoin the social fabric. Two core operations include a street magazine “Shedia” and a homeless soccer team.

Social Cohesion Clinic

Auteur : Roman Kryvosheia / Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-07-16 13:42 -

The project deals with issues like the social exclusion of vulnerable groups of citizens, due to their limited ability to exercise their rights, and the exclusion of recent law graduates from the labour market due to a lack of work experience.

Izlelo Family Restaurant

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-06-21 09:13 -
Izlelo

Izlelo is the first restaurant in Hungary, which provides skill training and permanent employment to people with disabilities using a sustainable business model.

Recuperiamoci!

Auteur : alessandra sciurba - Publié le : 2013-05-07 12:37 -

"Recuperiamoci!" is a non-profit solidarity network within which circulates all the work experience that exists in the "prison sphere", and which aims to raise awareness and to improve the dignity of the alternative economy produced by the activity of prison inmates.

CESU

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-16 14:20 -

Improving conditions of care and domestic workers

All Examples of Actions and Policies

Talia

Auteur : alessandra sciurba - Publié le : 2013-08-30 08:47 -

Activities of Design / Recycling, with workshops and training courses aimed to act against waste and to develop income in the sector

Business centre for people with disabilities

Auteur : Maria Jeliazkova - Publié le : 2013-08-13 15:14 -

By working with and for people with disabilities, the project aims to provide equal opportunities and better life chances for them. The activities simultaneously increase the level of public awareness on issues of people with disabilities and lobby for their rights.

Solidarity Bulgaria (SB)

Auteur : Maria Jeliazkova - Publié le : 2013-08-13 14:20 -

Solidarity Bulgaria is a discussion network of citizens believing in the values of freedom, solidarity and justice. The initiative promotes discussions on important social issues, ranging from poverty to social security to housing. The Group is active in social & environmental issues as well as standards of living. The aim is to empower civil society and restore solidarity through active discussions, public initiatives, drafting of legal changes and elaboration of position papers.

Association of home-based workers, Bulgaria

Auteur : Maria Jeliazkova - Publié le : 2013-08-13 13:34 -

Strengthening the movement of home-based workers, the Association (AHBW) in Bulgaria is the first organisation of informal workers in Eastern Europe. It is a non-governmental organisation based on membership and democratic governance, i.e. it takes a bottom-up approach. It is an initiative to make visible home-based workers as well as protect their social and economic rights. It operates at the national and regional level.

Social Training - Professional Centre

Auteur : Maria Jeliazkova - Publié le : 2013-08-13 09:37 -

Improving the livelihood and social status of vulnerable people by establishing a social enterprise: the project aims to establish and develop a municipally-supported social enterprise in order to provide secured employment of disadvantaged people in Dimitrovgrad, thus improving their quality of life.

BIOME- Self-managed factory

Auteur : Mariani Papanikolau - Publié le : 2013-08-02 12:45 -

A Trade Union that is fighting for the independent operation and self-management of their abandoned factory.

NGO Diogenis and its street magazine Shedia

Auteur : Mariani Papanikolau - Publié le : 2013-08-02 11:33 -

An NGO working to support the rights of homeless people; through a wide range of activities, it assists homeless and socially excluded people in their struggle to join or rejoin the social fabric. Two core operations include a street magazine “Shedia” and a homeless soccer team.

Intergenerational job skills training

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-08-01 15:25 -

A 4 months job training opened to unemployed (young) persons where volunteered retired professionals can provide them with practical/concrete skills.

Associazione Culturale Rete ONU

Auteur : Alessandra Sciurba - Publié le : 2013-07-31 13:38 -

Rete Onu is a network of profit and non-profit associations working within the field of reuse in Italy. Its aim is to represent the main actors of reuse and flea markets, and to promote the sector in a way that builds job opportunities within a framework of positive environmental impact and social inclusion

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