Letter: Unemployment, British style

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The Independent Online
PAUL Wallace's chart provides a useful corrective to government propaganda, showing that on a (more or less) comparable basis, the British unemployment figure has oscillated around the EU average over the past 20 years, dipping slightly below it in the past two ("We've no right to gloat over jobless figures", Business, 18 February).

But why does he pull just one theory out of the hat, and use euphemistic terms like "flexibility" ("the way of the future") when what is meant is deregulation and non-unionisation of the labour market and, increasingly, 19th-century methods of hiring and firing? An equally plausible theory, put forward by the International Labour Office, is that some job security, resulting from regulation or collective agreements, is necessary to induce firms to undertake training, and to underpin flexible, co-operative working practices. The unemployment figures do not, as yet, provide any significant evidence for the superiority of the "British way".

Graham Hallett

Rhiwbina, Cardiff

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