Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1999 11:45:00 -0400
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YorkU.CA>
From: Charles Brown <CharlesB@CNCL.CI.DETROIT.MI.US>
Subject: Reflection of global class struggle
London—Attacks from western governments have prompted the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to climb
down from a controversial finding in its recent employment report
that job protection laws have
little or no effect on overall
The finding, contained in the organisation's annual employment outlook, is being used by trade unions in countries such as Spain and Italy—the OECD says—to resist government efforts to deregulate their country's labour markets.
The Paris-based organisation now says the way in which the
controversial chapter in the study was presented was due to a
communications blunder. The OECD said yesterday the
chapter's conclusion was
not terribly informative and
a first step in an ongoing study that requires further
It was an apparent spin that was not justified by what the
report actually said, the OECD added, although it conceded the
report was written in such a way as to support the view that job
protection measures do not have a negative effect.
The OECD has been warned its research findings threaten to undermine the organisation's liberalisation strategy to tackle unemployment. This was launched five years ago and urged industrialised countries to promote deregulation by, among other measures, abolishing restrictions on hiring and recruitment to reduce unemployment and increase job opportunities.
In fact, the specific chapter under attack—based on existing evidence—pointed out that regulations did adversely hit younger and older workers but not prime-age men. It also favoured further research to see whether any trade-off existed between job protection and employment creation.
However, the study has provoked uproar between the OECD's
economists and labour market experts who work in separate
There is a firewall between them, admitted one
The economists have gone ballistic over the employment
report written by the social affairs staff because it seems to
contradict their attitudes. Publicly they now say they all agree
with each other but that is not the case.
John Evans, head of the organisation's trade union advisory
The OECD must make a choice. They can either
look at the evidence they have and adjust their policy
conclusions accordingly or they can push on with their liberal
policies regardless and ignore the evidence.