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Learning from the economic crisis – public consultation - 18/01/2012

An arc welder welding together metal parts © iStock/kentarus

The EU wants your opinion on ways to help workers when companies restructure.

Companies restructure their operations as a means of staying competitive and remaining in business. Many have had to do so during the current economic crisis – resulting in the loss of millions of jobs.

Some workers have kept their jobs with employers who still need their skills thanks to new arrangements – including reduced working hours and pay cuts in return for job security and other benefits, often with the support of local and regional governments.

The Commission is seeking the public's views on such approaches. It also wants opinions on the help the EU can provide to encourage employment, growth and competitiveness during a restructuring.

A discussion paper outlines the issues being considered. These include:

  • learning from experience – the effectiveness of current policy and employer-employee arrangements, especially short-time working schemes
  • promoting competitiveness – approaches to help industry adapt to economic change and get better access to financing during restructuring
  • helping companies and workers adapt – the role of long-term planning in managing change, promoting training for future employment and needed skills
  • encouraging regional and local support – adapted to each country's traditional approach to agreements between employers and workers
  • reducing the impact – ways companies, employees and governments can retain jobs and lessen the effects of restructuring.

The online consultation is open until 30 March 2012. Comments will help the EU develop better responses to future downturns and the ongoing effects of globalisation.

These include a package of new proposals on employment measures and renewed efforts to encourage more flexibility in employer-employee arrangements balanced by improved social-security support – a mix known as flexicurity.

More on the EU approach to restructuring

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