Home > Uncategorized > Days Off Question #3

Days Off Question #3

Que #3  Do you think European vacation entitlements will be reduced to accommodate the global marketplace?

Orvar Lofgren, a professor of anthropology at Lund University in Sweden, says “The classic five-week vacation is not as holy as it used to be.” In the past Swedish workers often vacationed at the same time in early July. However this is starting to change to meet the needs of the industrialized world. Karl Olof Stenqvist, deputy director-general of the Association of Swedish Engineering Industries, says “With modern just-in-time production systems, you can’t just close a factory for a month.” (www.nytimes.com)

The European Commission of Employment, Social Affairs, and Equal Opportunities studies policies relating to business and labour trends. The term being used for changing employment in Europe is Flexicurity. The main principle is that Flexicurity plans should integrate four components:

  • Flexible and reliable contractual arrangements from the perspective of the employer and the employee, of ”insiders” and ”outsiders”
  • Comprehensive lifelong learning strategies to ensure the continual adaptability and employability of workers
  • Effective active labour market policies that help people cope with rapid change, reduce unemployment spells and ease transitions to new jobs
  • Modern social security systems that provide adequate income support, encourage employment and facilitate labour market mobility

European Commission — Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

I believe the concept means that all Europeans – employees, employers, and citizens are going to have to recognize that change is emerging in most European practices. The aim is to maintain social benefits and some job security; however individuals must take responsibility for keeping their skills up-to-date. Flexicurity means that employees need to be flexible and adaptable – to changes regarding their jobs and benefits, if they want to maintain values that are important to them, “ The involvement of social partners in the design and implementation of flexicurity policies through social dialogue and collective bargaining is of crucial importance.” (European Commission).

References:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/20/world/europe/20iht-sweden.4.7186705.html?_r=1

http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=117&langId=en

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. July 14, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Many European countries seem to be going through a major crisis right now. It’s possible that one of the ways they avoid bankruptcy will be by reducing vacation times – however, this might lead to an even higher unemployment rate.

  2. July 14, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Employers and governments might attempt to impose such a change, but are unlikely to succeed other than within sectors in crisis. A government that introduced legislation to impose cutbacks on all sectors might provoke a general strike. The government of Greece might be in a better position to impose further changes than other European countries, but riots and widespread strikes are a possibility there as well.

  3. Michelle Gohlan
    July 15, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Interesting concept but really challenging to implement in the face of this economic crisis! Yes, Greece may be justified in taking a strong stand.

  4. Pam
    July 15, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    I do not know much about european countries or policies, but think with the global economy not doing well, like anything else, things will change and accomodations will have to be made to find ways to cost save until the economy gets a boost. Unfortunately, it always starts with the recreational cut backs like vacation or personal time. Once people adjust to not having it, it can become the norm.

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