Masseudvandring fra Central-og Østeuropa skaber arbejdskraftmangel

29.apr. 2008 *
Pga massearbejdsløsheden i de kapitalistiske EU-stater i Central- og Østeuropa er millioner af fattige og arbejdsløse arbejdere fra disse nye EU-stater udvandret i jagten på arbejde. Derfor står lande som Polen, Romania and Bulgarien overfor arbejdskraftsmangel i vigtige dele af folkehusholdningen.
Polske,bulgarske og rumænske arbejdere blev lokket til at udvandre til kapitalistiske EU-stater som England,Danmark,Sverige, Tyskland og Spanien,Italien med løfter om gode løn- og arbejdsvilkår.
Resultatet er at store dele af folkehusholdningen i deres i deres hjemlande mangler arbejdskraft.

SOFIA, Apr 21 (IPS) – Worried about the possibility of a slow-down in economic growth because of labour shortages, Eastern European countries have started taking measures to bring their workers back home, and attract foreign labour. But such government interventions can only have a marginal effect.

As a result of massive workers’ migration to Western Europe, countries like Romania and Bulgaria are confronted with labour shortages in many sectors of the economy.

Construction workers are most needed in both countries. Labour shortages are also particularly serious in tourism in Bulgaria and in the textile industry in Romania, while both countries have been losing medics and teachers.

Only in 2007, around 2,000 medics have left Romania in search of better pay. A primary school teacher in Bulgaria barely makes 200 euro monthly, less than a quarter of what she could earn working as a waitress in neighbouring Greece.

Den  12. og 13. April the Romanian Ministry of Labour organised a job fair in Castellon de la Plana, Spain, to persuade Romanian workers that employment opportunities in their home country are now lucrative enough for them to return. A similar fair was held in Italy in February. Spain and Italy are the foremost destinations for Romanian migrant workers.

While official figures place the number of Romanians in Spain at 600,000, unofficial estimates go as high as one million. Another million Romanians are said to be living in Italy. According to the National Block of Trade Unions, the total number of Romanians working abroad reached 3.4 million in 2007, representing 15 percent of the country’s population of 21.5 million.

A similar scenario unfolds in Bulgaria, where the Bulgarian Academy of Science calculated that around one million people have sought work abroad since 1989. Labour migration and low birth rates have caused the population of this country to shrink from 8.9 million to 7.5 million over the past two decades. The main destinations for Bulgarians heading abroad are Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain.

On Apr. 12, Bulgarian Labour Minister Emiliya Maslarova concluded a one-week visit to Vietnam, whose main purpose was the signing of an inter-governmental memorandum aimed at bringing Vietnamese workers to Bulgaria. According to the Bulgarian Construction Chamber, Bulgaria will be short of 20,000 construction workers in 2008, and employers in the sector are interested in hiring Asian labour.

Unemployment rates in Romania and Bulgaria have almost halved since the early 1990s. In March, the unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in Bulgaria and 4.3 percent in Romania.

Economic growth rates stand at around 6 percent in both countries, but such growth rhythms are unsustainable, one of the reasons being the labour shortage. “Bulgaria lost many of its skilled workers in the early period of transition (den kontrarevolutionære udvikling fra kriseramt stats-kapitalisme til neokolonial EU-støttet kapitalisme med ubegrænsede muligheder for kapitalen at trænge ind i Bulgariens økonomi for både kapital og arbejdskraft, dvs EU´s krav om kapitalens og arbejdskraftens frie bevægeliugheden  ), and over the past two-three years, it has also been losing unskilled labourers,” Venelin Boshnakov, professor at the University of National and World Economy in Sofia told IPS. “Some sectors of the economy simply die out because employers cannot find workers to hire. This will affect the growth of our economy.”

According to the global market research institute Euromonitor, increased labour costs in Eastern Europe over the last years discourage foreign investors, thus eroding economic growth. Between 2006 and 2007, labour costs have increased by 21.5 percent in Romania and by 17.8 percent in Bulgaria.

But Vesselin Mintchev, economist at the Bulgarian Academy of Science, considers increased costs of labour a good sign, arguing that higher salaries and better working conditions are the only means to keep workers at home. According to Mintchev, one of the first measures the governments in this region should take is to increase the minimum wage.

“Signing agreements to bring a couple of thousand Asian workers to Bulgaria sounds like cynicism to me,” Mintchev told IPS. “It serves the interests of the rich in this country, because it is a way to make sure that some companies who lobby the government get the labour they need. But this does not solve the general problem of labour shortages.

“The companies prefer workers who are easily controlled, which is what happens if you bring foreign workers through inter-governmental contracts,” added Venelin Boshnakov.

With labour shortages and higher labour costs, some commentators have talked about the increased power of labour in Eastern Europe. But Vesselin Mitov, international secretary at Podkrepa, one of the main trade unions in Bulgaria, told IPS that the unions remain “extremely weak”, even in the domains affected by shortages. Often demonised in Eastern Europe as “communist” institutions, trade unions are still to build up their leverage in this region.

Furthermore, governments in Romania and Bulgaria have little room for manoeuvre on the labour market, after engaging on a path of broad economic liberalisation. “With the open markets, Bulgarian employers are now competing over workers with employers all over Europe,” says Vesselin Mintchev. “And Bulgaria is simply losing.”

For the moment, it seems the Romanians and Bulgarians who return home do so not because salaries and working conditions in Eastern Europe have improved considerably, but because opportunities in the West are fewer. “If my family were not already in Spain, helping me, I would come back,” Emil Petreanu, a Romanian construction worker says. “It is now my third time coming to Spain, but never had I had such a hard time finding work.”    . . . . .. . . af Claudia Ciobanu
(END/2008)

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