What value does work have today?

People demonstrated across Europe for fair working conditions and higher wages on May 1, International Workers' Day. Commentators point to the problem areas of today's working world and propose solutions.

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24 Sata (HR) /

Work must fill people's stomachs

Croatian employers shouldn't be surprised by the fact that the country's workforce is dwindling and should focus instead on treating the workers they have fairly, 24 Sata believes:

“You want a worker? Then pay him! That's the only topic our oh-so civilised and neo-liberal discussion should include. Pay him with proper contracts, social security contributions, the right to holidays and humane working hours. ... We've driven 100,000 people out of Croatia and shouldn't be surprised that today no one wants to work. ... They do want to work, but they also want to live like human beings. They want to be able to eat their fill after work, and not to be hungry and tired. Because in case you don't know it, that's what you call slavery.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Pay rises not enough

The demands for pay rises like those voiced by German trade unions this year won't be enough, the taz believes:

“Because, for example, what use is the biggest pay rise if the money is all gobbled up by exploding rents? Yes, that would result in a real redistribution - but only from the bosses who pay more to the landlords who pocket more. The needy, meanwhile, would once again go empty-handed. Social questions require significantly broader, more complex answers: answers that don't just reward those who already have jobs. And they are needed soon. Because if they aren't provided by a broad, socially-rooted left inspired by the idea of solidarity, they will come - in brutal simplicity - from the right-wing populists.”

Le Soir (BE) /

Watch out for the backlash!

In view of the way the working world is developing Le Soir warns:

“Pressure on workers in the name of productivity, resignation in the face of repeated cuts, obscurity regarding how careers will end, increasingly precarious working conditions, growing digitisation. ... Workers have no shortage of things to worry about. ... The question of the value of work remains essential. It is one of those that make it possible to build a fair society. If labour returns to the form of alienation it embodied at the end of the 19th and the start of the 20th centuries, it threatens to exacerbate the resentment of those without whom the economy cannot function: the workers.”