Unusually good article from Libby Purves on The Times comment page today about how the laws put in place to protect workers often work against them.
The thing which ministers seem never to consider is removing some of the impediments to hiring that they gaily put in place during the palmy years. Note that in the US in normal times the average gap between redundancy and a new job was four weeks. Here it was six months.
This is because in America you can fire people you can't afford. Thus when an upturn begins, US employers hire early. Here, employment protection law makes an exhausting and time-consuming process of “managing people out”: written warnings, meetings, monitoring, watching your language lest lawyers pounce. It takes three months, during which time you are still paying wages as business crumbles.
And, as Purves also points out, what we need are real jobs not more training and more reasons for employers not to hire.
But in the end people need real work. To leave university and spend three impoverished months being half-trusted at a corporate keyboard is clearly better than hanging around on benefits. But what all workers deserve, as much as money and experience, is honour. Whether you are a cleaner or a QC, you want to know that you earned your money and would be missed.
And, by happy coincidence, this is also what the economy needs: not millions on benefits and millions more in perpetual training that leads nowhere, nor artificial jobs (such as the new “food leftovers advisers” now allegedly turning up on doorsteps after a one-day course).
The trouble is, this government's idea of job creation is more and more people on the public sector payroll which might look good statistically, but does nothing to help the economy really. Real jobs means employment in the wealth producing private sector not in the wealth consuming public sector. It doesn't mean offering employers bribes to take people on, but creating the conditions under which employers want to take someone on.
The trouble is, the leftist mindset is so gripped by the belief that employers only want to employ someone so that they can exploit them, grind them down and then spit them out, that they are unable to see beyond that - and that leftist mindset is now so pervasive in our ruling class that it is difficult to see where the required mettle to grasp the nettle is going to come from.