Inside Italy’s Shadow Economy By Elizabeth Paton and Milena Lazazzera

In recent years, some luxury companies have started to bring production back to Puglia, Mr. Fumarola said. But he believed that power is still firmly in the hands of the brands, not suppliers already operating on wafer-thin margins. The temptation for factory owners to then use sub-suppliers or home workers, or save money by defrauding their workers or the government, was hard to resist.

Add to that a longstanding antipathy for regulation, high instances of irregular unemployment and fragmented systems of employment protection, and the fact that nonstandard employment has been significantly liberalized by successive labor market reforms since the mid-1990s, and the result is further isolation for those working on the margins.

Italy has not got a national minimum wage.

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Global Economy’s Stubborn Reality: Plenty of Work, Not Enough Pay By PETER S. GOODMAN and JONATHAN SOBLE

But other economists assert that the weak growth in wages is an indicator of a new economic order in which working people are at the mercy of their employers. Unions have lost clout. Companies are relying on temporary and part-time workers while deploying robots and other forms of automation in ways that allow them to produce more without paying extra to human beings. Globalization has intensified competitive pressures, connecting factories in Asia and Latin America to customers in Europe and North America.

Jobs that require specialized, advanced skills are growing. So are low-paying, low-skill jobs. Positions in between are under perpetual threat.

Many economists see the decline [in unions] as a key to why employers can pay lower wages.

The government [Japan] has pressed companies to pay higher wages, cognizant that too much economic anxiety translates into a deficit of consumer spending, limiting paychecks for all.

But companies have mostly sat on their increased profits rather than share them with employees. Many are reluctant to take on extra costs out of a fear that the good times will not last

Union leaders [Norway], aware that companies must cut expenses or risk losing work, have reluctantly signed off on employers hiring growing numbers of temporary workers who can be dismissed with little cost or fuss.

“Shop stewards are hard pressed in the competition, and they say, ‘If we don’t use them then the other companies will win the contracts,” said Peter Vellesen, head of Oslo Bygningsarbeiderforening, a union that represents bricklayers, construction workers and painters. “If the company loses the competition, he will lose his work.”

Global Economy’s Stubborn Reality: Plenty of Work, Not Enough Pay By PETER S. GOODMAN and JONATHAN SOBLE

University aims to educate 50,000 refugees worldwide by 2022 By MICHAEL CASEY Associated Press

To make it work, LeBlanc is hoping to emulate many of the things that have worked in the Rwandan programs. Students there are served lunch every day, have access to laptops and can receive mentoring, career coaching and help with English. Together with its partner on the ground, Kepler, a nonprofit university that provides education in Africa, the university offers online degree programs in business, communications and health care management.

http://www.startribune.com/university-aims-to-educate-50-000-refugees-worldwide-by-2022/439894073/

A Few Jobs AI Can Never Render Obsolete by Patricio O’Gorman

The valued professions of the future are likely to be ones that have a “human” focus, meaning people working in mental health, drug abuse or occupational therapy, or dentists and even security forces, which the study found had less than a 0.4% chance of disappearing by 2025. For now, machines are finding it hard to replicate empathy or cooperation between people.

This year at the World Economic Forum at Davos, it was estimated that robots, AI and nanotechnology would together blitz five million jobs worldwide by 2020. They would perhaps create 2.1 million jobs for workers with knowledge of mathematics, architecture and engineering.

 

Report on the European Parliament Preparatory Action on the Youth Guarantee (August 2015)

At the request of the European Parliament, the European Commission directly managed 18 small scale pilot projects in 7 Member States to test local partnerships for Youth Guarantee schemes (EP Preparatory Action).

The projects aimed to provide Member States with practical experience for implementing their national Youth Guarantee schemes.

The projects were launched between August and December 2013 and ran for one year in Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom.

http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1099&langId=en