Blog AnalysisSocial Policy

Human development at work, utopia or necessity?

(B2) The acceleration of economic, financial and technological changes, gradually evacuating the human being from the center of concerns. The race for corporate profits, and, even if it is not at all of the same order, the workers' race for money make everyone miss out on a completely different meaning of existence. Under the pressure of an increasingly oppressive pace of work, working conditions are deteriorating. The sphere of work is experienced more and more as a necessary evil. It is gradually being disinvested by young people.

Can we accept today that employees are considered in the company as subordinate beings?

Everywhere in society, human beings are recognized as civilly and politically capable. So how can we accept today that they are still considered in the company as subordinate beings. Isn't this a survival in the labor relationship of the values ​​of the industrial era which largely skew labor relations? Even a work of execution can be defined by precise obligations incumbent on both parties, there is no need to refer to obedience to orders, humiliating for any human being. Moreover, it is not so much obedience that is involved as more or less significant margins of initiative and freedom depending on the nature of the work. Nothing prevents breaking the monotony of work for manual and repetitive tasks by associating experienced workers with the general organization of the service, the department and even with management to vary their functions.

Isn't it necessary introduce other concepts, such as fulfilment, into the world of work?

In this context, fulfillment is conceived as a freedom, that is to say legally a power to choose, to self-determine. This freedom only has negative consequences for others. Others must refrain from hindering our freedom: not to discriminate, stress, humiliate, but also not to hinder our actions such as, for example, leaving for training. But fulfillment is also about rights which are as many powers to impose positive behavior on others or on the community, for example the right to different types of leave or the right to be protected against stress or harassment. (welfare legislation). It can be seen that all of the current legislation tends to achieve fulfillment at work without achieving it.

Five key principles

Faced with these observations, the objective conditions for fulfillment must be sought.

1. Legality is the basic condition for flourishing. It is implemented mainly by negative rules of protection against discrimination, it can be improved by positive action measures valuing certain categories of people excluded from work. In particular, the creation of a new leave for the emotional issues of the couple and single people as a preventive or curative measure must be proposed.

2. The training is the element which makes it possible to value the human being and which helps him to discover his most hidden talents. The training times must therefore be revised upwards due to the constant improvement of our society, the importance of innovations in all areas. The improvement of training must be based on the concrete projects of workers and with the help of skills assessments.

3. The health : The prevention of tensions at work must be improved by the negotiation of a relational charter taking into account the needs and projects of the workers but also the needs of the company. Indeed, one cannot continue to ignore the flexibility needs of companies without risking putting companies out of the game. However, the consideration of its economic factors must not override the basic human needs for stability, justice, and respect for their life project, under penalty of finding a free-wheeling economy that works for itself and for a minority of individuals. It would therefore be necessary to create the possibility of loyal relations in business allowing to live a relationship of utility (work is above all useful) without cheating.

4. The work time : He must take into account the other times of life. The principle of a notice period should be laid down by law for any change in the employment contract (hours, function, place) and negotiated by the social partners in collective agreements. In this perspective, the different forms of flexibility should really be compensated by individual flexibilities or recovery times.

5. Theautonomy and security in the employment relationship : We propose in particular to extend the protection of labor law to all workers who are exclusively or almost exclusively dependent on an employer, but above all to develop the autonomy of workers by creating an employment contract based on economic dependence and not legal.

Some principles for a "Relational Charter".

Some conditions are essential to fulfillment, others are assets allowing the valorization of people at work.

Basic conditions

1. Do not suffer from discrimination, humiliation, harassment, stress;

2. To be accepted in one's uniqueness;

3. Not to be reduced to a simple utility but on the contrary to be recognized as a full human being;

4. Work in complete safety, and in the event of specific risks, benefit from special health care;

5. To be able to maintain a balance between professional life and private life and in the event of inevitable overflows to be able to arrange their schedules with a certain freedom and predictability;

6. Have some job and resource security.

Criteria for valuing the human being

1. Be recognized for a job well done;

2. Possess a degree of autonomy (that is, being able to make certain decisions concerning one's work);

3. Have the opportunity to develop personal gifts at work;

4. Be able to include his personal project in that of the company;

5. Have opportunities for development within the company or outside it (functional mobility, training, career break leave).

(Summary of the research carried out by Anna Cieslar, André Nayer, Bernadette Smeesters at the CERP of the Free University of Brussels and published in Bruylant editions 2007 (857 p.) – “The right to the development of human beings at work, metamorphoses of social law.”)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).