Spain is behind in the quality of working conditions in the EU as a result of austerity policies, according to an index prepared by Enrico Giovannini, current Italian Transport Minister, for the European Trade Union Confederation (CES, ETUC, in its acronym in English) published this Tuesday and to which elDiario.es has had access.
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"The European Union has made little progress towards its goal of improving job quality over the last decade and some countries have even regressed," according to Giovannini's report: "The impact of EU austerity policies is evident in the new ETUC Decent Work Index, with Greece, Italy and Spain among the five worst performing countries. The other two, Bulgaria and Romania, show that not enough is being done to bridge the economic gap between Western and Eastern Europe. "
According to the report edited by the ETUC, "Greece performed worse in 2019 than in 2010, while Luxembourg and the United Kingdom performed worse than in 2015. The four best performing countries are in Northern Europe: the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and Sweden ".
"The Government agrees that, finally, we must correct the dysfunctions in the labor market that make us profoundly unequal," said the Minister of Labor and the next third vice president, Yolanda Díaz, during her visit to the European Commission in the framework of the negotiation with Brussels for the future labor reform linked to the European reconstruction funds: "Spain has a problem of precariousness, temporality, segmentation of the labor market, duality. For this reason, finally, after 36 years, our country It is going to commit to reformulating and taking measures to correct these effects. Since 1984, we have been using multiple approaches that have allowed us to have unbearable levels of temporality. "
The Minister of Labor gave some information: "We are the only country in Europe that has these levels of temporality in 2019. We have a total of 6 million contracts, of which half of them are below 7 days in duration . Every week we formalize more than 6 million overtime hours, of which 42% are not paid. The Government of Spain agrees with the European Commission, that it is necessary to correct those elements that make us profoundly unequal. What we have to do is undertake legislative changes that go along the lines of what has happened in our country since 1984. "
The index also highlights how GDP has little to do with decent work. Ireland, for example, had experienced high levels of GDP growth in recent years, but scores poorly on the Decent Work Index "because its GDP is based on extremely low corporate tax and public spending on social protection" says the report.
Decent work and sustainable growth is one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that the EU endorsed in 2015.
The Decent Work Index prepared for the ETUC by Enrico Giovannini measures progress towards the goal of three vectors: economic well-being, job quality, and job vulnerability. Economic well-being has worsened in the EU since 2015, while the situation has barely improved when it comes to job quality or job vulnerability.
Overall, the Giovannini report concludes that Europe has "barely improved" over the last decade when it comes to decent work.
ETUC Confederal Secretary Liina Carr says: "The EU is internationally committed to pursuing decent work and sustainable growth. But very little progress has been made as a result of austerity policies, which made work more unsafe and exacerbated inequality. The EU needs to fundamentally rethink its economic policies, prioritizing decent work as promised and ending overly rigid controls on public investment that drive fair economic growth. That has to start with people's recovery of the pandemic in which the EU and the Member States use all the necessary resources to protect workers and companies from a recession that would make it impossible to achieve the objectives of the UN. "
"No EU country yet has a fair and sustainable economic model, and the EU as a whole is progressing 'very slowly' on decent work," states the report: "In 2019, ten countries are still below the 2010 EU average, including those most affected by austerity; there is a relationship between the EU development model and climate targets; EU Member States can create a greener and more digital future by investing RRF funds in social justice, people and jobs, but they should profoundly reform the Economic Governance Framework [el Semestre Europeo] to support sustainable well-being and inclusion. "
"The most surprising data comes from the lower end of the table," says the report: "Three countries are within a few decimal places of the current EU average, while 10 Member States score even worse than the EU average of 2010, basically 10 years behind. If these countries are analyzed, it is easy to divide them into two groups: a first with countries with a history of economies in transition (Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia and Poland), and a second group that brings together the Member States that were most affected by the austerity measures imposed by the so-called Troika (Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain) ".
The graph shows how austerity policies and the double-dip recession (2011-2013, highlighted by the red circle) negatively affected the ability of these Member States to "move towards a more sustainable and fairer economic model. Austerity affected the performance of these countries, preventing them from catching up with the rest of Europe and condemning them to remain at the lower end of the EU28, "the report states.