Good jobs – green jobs!
For many people, a permanent, secure job and a fair wage are far out of reach. The reality of working life is very different: wage dumping, job insecurity and harmful working conditions are becoming increasingly common. This not only affects the individual; it is also a potentially explosive issue for society. The widening gap between normal, precarious and no employment is putting our social cohesion at risk. Our Green policies aim to create a different kind of working world. We want to help create decent jobs and give as many people as possible access to work that fulfils them and pays a fair wage. New and sustainable jobs must be created in future-oriented sectors such as health and care service provision and climate protection. We want to create one million sustainable jobs in the coming years through investment in climate programmes, education and social justice.
A minimum wage at the very least
Decent work means protecting people from wage poverty first and foremost. At present, very few sectors have an agreed minimum wage. At least three quarters of the 6.5 million workers in the low-wage sector are mercilessly exposed to wage dumping. We therefore demand a minimum wage for all workers in every sector.
Our model, w hich works on a progressive sliding scale, reduces non-wage labour costs for lower incomes. This means that low earners are left with higher net incomes and the burden on employers is eased. This creates new opportunities for people who, until now, have been permanently excluded from the labour market.
In Germany, the wage gap between women and men is shamefully high: on average, men earn around 23 per cent more than women. Change is needed, in the public sector but especially in private industry. The way forward is clear: equal pay for equal work, equal representation in supervisory bodies, and more women at board level.
Unemployment benefit II does not meet people's needs for a decent livelihood and full participation in society. We believe it is in urgent need of reform. As an alternative, we have developed the Green basic income model, which guarantees participation and livelihood security. It provides dependable financial security at a higher standard rate than at present and also facilitates access to individual tailor-made support from job placement services, without intrusiveness or sanctions.
Flexible but secure
Many people are alarmed by developments in the labour market. Whenever the threat of redundancies looms or orders decrease, it is the livelihoods of people in atypical forms of work and the increasing numbers of lone self-employed workers which are particularly at risk. However, these people not only face growing job insecurity: their social security cover is also inadequate. This is unfair. Social security should not be a privilege associated with "normal" employment relationships. We want unemployment insurance to cover temporary workers and the self-employed as well.
The strongly expanding temporary employment sector is also worrying for many people in permanent employment. We want tougher regulations to protect permanent staff from this "cut-price" competition. At the same time, we want better working conditions and wages for temporary workers.
Increasing demands are being made of employees, requiring them to show a high degree of flexibility. At the same time, employees also expect greater flexibility and leeway from their employers. Workers are calling for a new work/life balance, with scope to combine employment with time out for education or family responsibilities or to embark on a new career direction. We will chart the right policy course here.
We want to create the right conditions for skills development and employment as a response to the impending shortage of skilled workers. Further and advanced training plays a key role here, so the provision of this type of training must be expanded and take-up rates improved. There must also be better access to upskilling for the low-skilled. Training provision for young people must be far-sighted and structured in a way which ensures its independence from economic cycles. At present, many young people are wasting years of their lives in useless bridging measures and end up without any useful vocational qualifications.
The system of protection against dismissal must remain in place. In labour law – including protection against dismissal – there are many areas of discrimination which must be abolished. We do not accept a situation in which people are dismissed for minor offences. We want regulations which give more scope to labour courts. When it comes to the issue of data protection for employees, there has been a high level of abuse in recent years. It is clear that the regulations in this area are inadequate, so we want to bring forward separate data protection legislation for employees.
Skills and qualifications, equal pay for equal work, more and better jobs, more security in a flexible labour market, and the Green basic income: there's a lot to do – so let's get started!