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The New Solidarity
GUY MUNDLAK
Geneva, Feb. 2013
The effects of the financial crisis
pressure
 After decades of
 Flexibilization of labor
protections
 Retrenchment of the
welfare state
 Pressure for further
withdrawal of rights
and benefits to enable
adjustment
potential
 Hypothesis 1: Recognition
of regulatory failures in the
capital market will spillover
to the labor market
 Hypothesis 2:
recognizing the
thinning protection to
those who are laid off
and the unemployed
will create a new
solidarity
The new solidarity
 Regulatory measures that pool together otherwise
discrete groups, and are sustainable over time, create
a new political clientele that seeks to ensure the
stability of rights and benefits.
Separating and pooling effects
 In labor law





Categorical v. universal rights
Categorical benefits can aid
those who most in need of
protection
But they also encourage
avoidance strategies,
competitions among groups,
exclusion
Universal benefits are more
difficult to avoid, more
inclusive and are deemed as
‘everyone’s right’
Universal benefits are more
likely to have ongoingpolitical
support, rather than treated as
a token of mercy for workers
in need
 In welfare law




Targeted v. universal benefits
The paradox of distribution
Targeted benefits seem to aid
those who are most in need
Universal benefits pool
together beneficiaries of the
system and strengthen the
political basis of the right
Dismissed workers and the unemployed
in times of flexibilization and retrenchment
 In labor law




Relaxation of just
dismissals policy
Increase in categorical
protections
Candidates for dismissals
suffer from meritocratic
fault
Protections against
dismissals are a statutory
generosity to the most
vulnerable workers
 In welfare law



Reductions in
unemployment insurance
Preservation of welfare
(stricto senso) for the least
well off
Blaming the unemployed
for their misfortune
Responses to the crisis
 Those who were laid off were “the best guys” who
conformed with the neoliberal ethos
 Extending new protections:
1.
A safety net for loss of pension
2.
Raising unemployment fund
3.
Restrictive rules on due process in lay-offs
4.
Unionization of high-tech workers
A new solidarity?
Targeted or
universal
Temporary or
enduring
Pooling effect
Pension safety net
Targeted at those
who are better off
(pension holders)
Temporary
Low; mostly
expressive
Raising
unemployment
Insurance
Universal
Enduring, but
vulnerable to
reversal
Moderate,
Enduring
High, ‘sticky’
Due process in lay- Universal
offs
Unionization of
high tech workers
Targeted/universal Temporary
Moderate, mostly
expressive but
potentially
enduring
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