Calogero Massimo Cammalleri

University of Palermo

Precarious work: Towards a new theoretical foundation

Izabela Florczak, University of Lodz
Barbara Godlewska-Bujok, University of Warsaw
Calogero Massimo Cammalleri, University of Palermo

The presentation provides a rudimentary overview of the underlying causes of the development of the precarious work phenomenon in Europe and analyses the policy and judicatory answers to it at EU level as well as discusses the perspectives for and potential trajectories of the development of an adequate institutional framework against precarity at EU level.

Precarious agreements seem to be the next stage of development of employment relations. At the same time, their axiological layer seems to expose their economic violence-based character. Has the culture of violence we live in today affected what we call the employment relation?

The lack of security produced by the precariat can be seen as a degree of participation of flexibility for firms as “social pollution” i.e. as generator of negative externalities. One proposes a full change of paradigm to fight and to tackle the lack of security at precariat level with a solution in terms of internalisation of externalities (i.e. social costs), rather than affecting precarious work either enlarging the area of employment contract or proposing an intermediate way of regulations.

The digital work exploitation

Nothing new under the sun!

Calogero Massimo Cammalleri, University of Palermo

The paper jointly studies the impact of work through digital platforms and of the vast AI robotics implementation on issues of employment law and social security. The point of view and the remedy that is suggested are both quite unorthodox. The point of view is one of law and literature; the remedy is taken from law and economics. Even if the essay agrees that the proposal of introducing both a social contribution on robots and a new regulation via apps poses the right question, it holds that such solutions are not necessarily the right way. In fact, since these would ‘anthropomorphise’ robots and algorithms, it would inevitably be useless, similar to an increase in social contributions. Conversely, the article proposes a radical change in perspective, deeming that social protection in the digital era requires new relationships between ‘every’ market and ‘the’ social justice. For the latter purpose, the article proposes to break the two alternative dichotomies of Bismarckian/Beveridgean systems of social provisions and that of employee/independent-contractor (at the level of regulation through the law). In this regard, such change is reached without extending the regulation of employees. Consequently, the essay suggests introducing a new ‘uniform’ and indirect financial system for protections for those who are not in a Standard Employment Relationship. Such a ‘uniform’ financing device for social contributions is based on the ‘added value’ of work rather than (the opposite of how it actually is) based either on the wage of an employee or on the earnings of the self-employed. This way, the shifting boundaries of contracts between companies or firms and employees or workers, or even the self-employed and so on, can be overcome because no particular contract is needed for protection. The same applies to the use of robots.

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