Precarious workfare schemes

Jydebjerg, C. S. (Oplægsholder), Freya Semanda (Oplægsholder)

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Analyzing the Danish rules concerning activation of people who are receiving unemployment benefits, we argue that activation schemes can be understood as non-standard jobs or precarious work. We argue that these workfare schemes add to a regime of precarity and accentuates vulnerability.
From the 1990’s and onward activation strategies have been introduced in many OECD countries in an effort to combat unemployment. Activation strategies consists of re-employment programs, such as job trails and internships. The goal of activation strategies is to help people to regain entry in to the regular labor market. It can be argued that the labor markets in the same period have become more precarious, the possibilities of standard work with a high job security deteriorating and giving way to a rise in the number of people working non-standard precarious jobs. According to OECD non-standard jobs are adding to economic inequality. We argue that many of the activation schemes designed to help people with access to the regular labor force can be understood as non-standard jobs or precarious work making it harder for people participating in the schemes to regain entry into standard jobs. We further argue that these precarious workfare schemes risk being contrary to the right to work as laid down in article 6 of the ICESCR, since the right to work, as stressed by the CESCR, entails a right to decent work that enables workers to support themselves and their families.

Drawing on the legal theory of Martha Fineman as well as Isabel Loreys analysis of precariazation we argue that the laws regulating activation add to a regime of precarity – a government of insecurity - and thus contra-intuitively accentuates the vulnerability of the people participating in the workfare-schemes as well as in society as a whole.
Periode5 apr. 20175 jul. 2017
BegivenhedstitelSocio-Legal Studies Association: Annual Conference 2017
PlaceringNewcastle, Storbritannien
Grad af anerkendelseInternational


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