Lithuania’s labour code reform ‘perfect example of how capital deals with low growth’

Charles Woolfson
DELFI (A.Didžgalvio nuotr.)

The purpose of a labour code is to distribute risks of possible crises between employers and employees and Lithuania’s new Labour Code draft disproportionally favours employers, said Sweden’s Linköping University professor emeritus Charles Woolfson.

Woolfson, together with the US East Carolina University sociology professor Arūnas Juška, analysed the discourse surrounding the reform of labour relations in Lithuania and concludes that Lithuania has become a perfect illustration of how after the global economic crisis, capital is facing with a new problem – slow growth.

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“It always comes to flexibility, modernization, attracting investment, workers must always take full responsibility for their destiny and businesses seek to cut unnecessary costs – compensations for loss of job or the protection of parents with children. Lithuania’s efforts to reform the labour code only illustrate these trends. In simple terms, everything revolves around who pays the system when recovering from the economic crisis. Who – capital or workers?” said Mr. Woolfson.

According to Mr. Woolfson, there are concerted efforts to increase the moral supremacy of the business class and reduce the moral value of ordinary working people, if they do not sign under the new flexible security and reform agenda.

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“So those who oppose the reform are named residues of the the Soviet system or people unable to adapt to modern times, lacking flexibility or simply people at the margins of the labour market. In other words, reform opponents are portrayed as welfare users rather than makers. In my view, it is a very worrying process that divides the society and belittles the value of ordinary people and ordinary employees,” said Woolfson.

“It seems to me that the labour code is designed to maximize profits and overwrite the labour market rules in such a way that they become useful for employers. This will inevitably increase social inequalities, reduce workers’ safety. It will probably increase labour emigration,” said the professor.

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