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The Working Poor: from Frustration to Anger

Money is better than poverty, if only f (CC BY 2.0) by katerha

The phenomenon of in-work poverty could potentially destabilize many western societies. It is directly linked to low pay and short-term jobs but also to a lack of social protection. The incomes of these employed people are not sufficient to lift the household out of poverty. Precarious work undoubtedly leads to social marginalization and can also lead to widespread social unrest. The European Commission -Europe 2020 Strategy- has set a target of lifting 20 million people out of the risk of poverty or social exclusion by 2020 compared to the year 2008. That is no small challenge. The figures clearly show that precarious work is on the rise in Europe. The share of temporary contracts for salaried employees has increased from 6% in 1982 to 12% in 2017. And the amount of one-day temporary contracts has risen from 8% in 2001 to 30% in 2017 (Re.European Data Journalism). In that sense, the example of Germany -the largest national economy in Europe- is striking. In Germany there are an estimated 7.6 million « mini-jobs » which means involuntary part-time work and other precarious form of employment (Re.Bundesregierung Dec.2018). In short, what is of great concern is that more and more people who are working must struggle with poverty. The increasing globalisation of the world economy which is exacerbating the competition between states will not help to improve the situation. In-work poverty will be one of the most important challenges for European leaders.

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