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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Europe's New Temp Worker Class Bears Recession Brunt

The new class of temporary workers created by European labor reform is suffering most in the current wave of job cuts, the Wall Street Journal reports, testing the new policies amid the threat of backlash. Short-term employees—easier and cheaper to fire than permanent ones—also get fewer unemployment benefits, widening the gap between the haves and the mostly young and immigrant have-nots.

The laws governing temp workers, says a spokesman for one German company, were “a real instrument of flexibility in the high times,” helping fill millions of new jobs—and when the economy recovers, those workers will be first to feel it. But economists worry that anger—Europe is no stranger to protests over jobs—could force governments to reverse the laws before that happens.

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