9 septiembre 2021

Fantasy ideas to face the serious jobs crisis. Published on

We all agree that the Covid-19 pandemic caused serious and irreparable damage against jobs and human labor, which has been worsened by the pre-existing crisis and aggravated by the quarantine and isolation (ASPO) mandated on March 20, 2020, which despite social distancing (DISPO) is still producing adverse effects.

The growing inequality and poverty is a direct consequence of this process, with a considerable increase in the number of people receiving welfare assistance, and a significant drop in registered and non-registered jobs alike.

Article by Julián A. de Diego published on on September 9, 2021

In this scenario, proposals for possible solutions are appearing everywhere, without a clear idea about targets or feasibility, and even worst, without knowing if the bills put forward may be decided at Congress without the consent or support of the Executive.

This collective psychosis has similarities with the so-called magical thinking, whereby we tend to put the cart before the horse and jump to conclusions based on mistaken, ungrounded, informal or fallacious assumptions leading to opinions or ideas without sound empirical evidence.

They are often the result of assigning an effect to a specific event, without a probable causal relationship between them. What has once been attributed to superstition, religion or popular beliefs today permeates politics in the middle of an electoral campaign that is full of unfulfilled promises by most candidates.

Candidates talk about objectives that may seem attractive to the public but we do not know how they will achieve them. There is little knowledge about constitutional matters, and it is imperative to remind would-be legislators that our Magna Carta governs the rights and procedures that must be observed both in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.

Suffice is to say, for example, that everyone talks about increasing pension benefits, which in the last ten years have been systematically increased below inflation rate, and in fact in the past fifteen years the Supreme Court of Justice has been the only one who actually protected the real value of pensions because with every incumbent government the bills that were signed into law, as introduced by the Executive, have systematically disappointed retirees.

The same happens with wages: candidates promise to raise the Minimum Living Wage to ARS 100,000, when the market basket is worth ARS 62,000, and the current minimum wage amounts to 50% of said value. It is said that wages under collective bargaining agreements should be higher than the Minimum Living Wage, ignoring that all agreements exceed the current minimum wage of ARS 27,000 in place for September. In addition, we hear other fallacies, such as the need for an emergency Executive Order to increase wages, which cannot be decided in Congress, or the involvement of social groups in collective negotiations when they do not earn wages but get subsidies from the Executive.

But the sky is the limit for imagination. As to labor justice, it is said that Labor Courts should be done away with or that the litigation industry should be eliminated, and such a relevant issue calls for significant changes, and our Constitution guarantees impartial justice, the right of due process, the natural judge and access to justice for any citizen or foreigner who wants to live on Argentine soil.

A reduction in working hours is another frivolous statement based on ignorance: they seem to have forgotten that it failed as a tool to combat unemployment (in France, it led to increased moonlighting), and when working hours were reduced from 8 to 7 per day, wages were cut accordingly in proportion to time worked. Businesses lost competitiveness, and the overall economy suffered.

However, nobody is thinking about the need for a national fund for unemployment aid and severance pay to ensure those who lose their jobs that they will get paid the respective statutory severance packages, financed by this National Fund for Employment and partially by contributions to the family allowances system and therefore with no additional costs other than those in place today. Nobody is thinking about the so-called “bridges”, either, so that the unemployed could create or keep their employability in an attempt to recover their dignity through a new quality job. They seem to have forgotten that employment booms with investment and economic growth.

They seem to have forgotten about the fight against work off the books, child labor, workers’ exploitation, abusive treatment for undocumented foreigners, which are all part of a perverse system that usually relies on the complicity of social stakeholders and even local authorities.

It is imperative to return to the historical work ethic. And to this end, welfare programs should trigger mandatory education and other training courses on trades and crafts offering immediate job opportunities. Those who receive any welfare program should have the duty to get vaccinated as well.

All of these projects should be supported by a dual education system, with traineeships and apprenticeships at vocational schools. Company-wide collective bargaining agreements should set rules for paid traineeship programs in coordination with vocational education or crash courses in trades and crafts. The State should offer incentives to hire these new employees. Our future lawmakers are still promising fantasies when their own political parties have repeatedly failed to fulfill their promises campaign after campaign.

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