Incerto or Flexible: Italia and the UK (Part 13)

Emblem tranpoзиция by Mary Ranaldo

Over the last few years, the labor market has undergone importanti changes in Italia and the UK due to a deep crisi economica that has involved not only Europe, but also the whole world. In many regards, these two European countries are very different. One example of this is in the terms used to describe the labor market where we find that uncertainty is the word most commonly associated with this topic in Italia, while the word flexibility is heard more in the UK. Italiani are always uncertain when it comes to jobs: they are incerti about finding one, above all a good one, and, if they are lucky, they are incerti about keeping it. Britons have a more practical way of thinking about work: finding a job is a matter of time and passing from job to job is called flexibility.

Venice, Italy – In the carnival

In Italia, the labor market is un problema which deeply affects our everyday life, above all the incertezza of finding a job. The topic of work has defined every government in recent years. After the boom economico from the 1960s to the 1980s, the governments that followed had to face the issue of high unemployment due to recessioni and structural changes. And the inability to achieve a sustained improvement continues to this very day, with every partiti politici on the left and right trying to address this crucial issue, and candidates in elezioni politiche taking advantage of the uncertainty by promising to create millions of jobs.

Venice, Italy – In the carnival – jarino

According to the statistiche, there are around 3 milioni unemployed people in Italia, and the unemployment rate has risen above 10 percento. However, this situation may be even more serious than it looks as uncertainty about finding a job leads many people to stop even searching for one. They are called inactive persone, those who prefer to stay at home rather than looking for work because they are discouraged by the fact that their search could last for many months or even anni, and feel they are not able to find a good job or what they would find is instabili and poorly paid. This is a very Italian issue.

Venice, Italy – In the carnival – jarino

This clima of incertezza causes two very different risultati. On the one hand, persone are bound to accept unfavorable working condizioni, lower wages than on average, and posizioni instabili. On the other hand, those who reject underpaid jobs or stressful work condizioni, prefer to leave the country, finding a better job and life abroad – the so called fuga di cervelli (brain drain) which deprives our country of its precious heritage and hope for the future. This issue is underestimated by our governo, as the effects of young people leaving the country will become a major problem in the years to come when the elderly popolazione will be larger than the employed one, and the work of a few won’t be able to sustain the burden of many. Italia already has the second oldest population in Europe. In the futuro, there will be many more retired people than younger ones, and the consequence will be incertezza in regard to receiving a pensione. As I write at this moment, the governo is thinking about increasing the retirement age to 67, which is definitely a very unpopular measure.

Venice, Italy – In the carnival – jarino

L’incertezza of keeping a job, even if it is underpaid or stressante, also causes collateral damage like increasing problemi di salute, above all depression, or the spread of other negative feelings such as rabbia, fear, and frustrazione. Young Italiani are the angriest because they are placed at the greatest disadvantage of all gruppi sociali. The failure of our governo is the failure to understand that work gives dignity to human existence, it gives individuals the possibility to be relatively free. The incertezza of work leads to incertezza in life.

London, UK – In the carnival

By contrast, Great Britain offers more job opportunities, and many Italians choose this country as their place to live or restart their life. Here the uncertainty of the job market is called flexibility, which has created a healthy system of employment in recent years, at least relative to other European countries, above all Italia.

Britain’s government is committed to investing in new solutions that will help young people find a job. Britain’s economy is beginning to improve despite the recent Brexit and disastrous forecasts and predictions. According to the statistics, the unemployment rate is below that of other European countries, at around 4.5%, the lowest since 1975, with just 1.6 million unemployed people.

London, UK – In the carnival – Gingell

Britain has never enjoyed the myth of a fixed job comparable to the Italian posto fisso, which gave certainty to individuals trying to establish a family. It is not unusual for a British worker to change their job several times during their lifetime. They can find different kinds of work, and losing a position is not perceived to be tragic, as it would in Italia.

The world of work in Britain is very competitive, but if someone demonstrates the will to grow and takes initiative, they can become a manager or assume responsibility for a team, even at the age of 25, while in Italia at that age people are still studying or have an internship. British contracts often include a package of benefits which allow workers to have a certain sense of stability and hope for the future. Another important difference between the two countries is that meritocracy is highly valued in Britain. An employer appraises the individual’s skills, their willingness to improve, and does not consider relationships at all. This is an enorme problema in Italia, as the key posizioni in our public sector and sometimes in the private sector as well are occupied by individuals who have become managers due to relazioni. And there is nothing worse than managers incompetenti running a company. According to some people, this is the principale problema behind the corruption and incompetenza of Italian public companies.

London, UK – In the carnival – Jeremy Richards

Of course, Brexit represents a crucial step in Britain’s future, and, when the country officially leaves the EU in 2019, it will have an important effect on the job market. At the moment, there are negative forecasts, and a sense of uncertainty is affecting the British population. Perhaps their heavy involvement in European affairs over the last few years has undermined their proverbial self-confidence, causing them to move from flexibility to uncertainty. We will see.

Mary Ranaldo

Credits

Photo 1: Canterbury, UK – The face mask – m.palis

Photo 2: Venice, Italy – In the carnival – jarino

Photo 3: Venice, Italy – In the carnival – jarino

Photo 4: Venice, Italy – In the carnival – jarino

Photo 5: Venice, Italy – In the carnival – jarino

Photo 6: London, UK – In the carnival – melis

Photo 7: London, UK – In the carnival – Gingell

Photo 8: London, UK – In the carnival – Jeremy Richards

Locations

Real: Postcard emblems in The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed and The Anthology of Global Instability Transposed on display at 1080

Virtual: www.perypatetik.net

Social: Cinemblem (cine emblem) at www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Castañeda, Martha Corzo. Worried Workers – Peru. February 2018.

Cooleridge, Tweeney. Uncertainty in the Abstract – Slovakia. March 2018.

Cordido, Veronica. The Crib of Uncertainty – Venezuela. January 2018.

Dastan, S.A. Uncertain Waters – Turkey. March 2019.

Electra P. Aβεβαιότητα: The Enemy of Romantic Relationships – Greece. February 2018

Escandell, Andrea da Silva. Compromise – Uruguay. March 2018

Goumiri, Abdennour. Uncertainty Is All There Is – France. February 2018.

Guerrero, Marilin. Crossing the Uncertain Path of Life – Cuba. February 2018.

Konbaz, Rahaf. So You Say You Want A Revolution – Syria. March 2018.

Lozano, Gabriela. El cuchillo de la incertidumbre : Piercing Uncertainty – México. January 2018.

Samir, Ahmed. Uncertainty in Personal Life. January 2018.

Quintero, Jonay. The Fear of Not Knowing – España. January 2018.

Forthcoming

Translators and writers from Russia, Paraguay, Argentina, Germany, Romania, Spain, America, Britain, and more…

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