Butterwegge: “No caning policy in case of unemployment“


Those who accept no Job, gets less Hartz IV, This is since 2005, the law in Germany – but in part, is unlawful, says the constitutional court. A half-hearted judgment, criticized the poverty researchers Butterwegge.

DW: Mr Butterwegge, that explains the Federal constitutional court has the reductions of the Hartz IV-references for partially unconstitutional. Although the authorities of the unemployed who refuse reasonable Jobs are allowed to strike, up to 30 percent of their state aid. Deductions of 60, or even 100 percent for those who violate the conditions are, therefore, unconstitutional. The ruling gives more clarity in dealing with unemployment and the evaluation of their subsistence?

Christoph Butterwegge: It is certainly a step forward in terms of sanctioning 60 percent and the total sanction – i.e. reduction of benefits by 100 percent. But on the other hand, the judgment is, of course, half-heartedly. The fundamental question is whether it is permissible to reduce the minimum subsistence level. And since the Federal constitutional court has held: in Principle, the state may the. He may, to some extent, the use of the sanctions, the existence of minimum of the Concerned limit by up to 30 percent. I think sanctions are altogether inhuman. They are also 30 percent counter-productive, because a System would be better, the supports, the supports, the assistance to penalties instead.

For the Hartz IV is that the principle of ‘Promote and Demand’ principle failed, regardless of how the Federal constitutional court has now ruled?

Poverty Researcher Christoph Butterwegge

It was required in the Major only. The UK job centre did not Promote as a Slogan and Demand, but much more clearly: Help and Hassle. This means, help, and annoy. And I think the Bullying is rather typical of this labour market System Hartz IV would have to be urgently overcome. I very much hope that the judgment of the Federal constitutional court is the starting point, in principle, to consider whether we need instead of a cane-education of the former Empire in the labour market and social law, a different System that is trying to be more positive, to set incentives to motivate Sufferers to participate.

What would make the policy specific, to back to the concept of helping in the foreground, the jobless back to work to bring?

The need for a social labour market, but also a promotion in the sense of a training allowance, for instance. If someone makes a training, then he could get this way of financial incentives. I think that is the better way than sanctions to exert pressure. People will get not by pressure, so by threat of sanctions, motivated, but by incentives.

The Federal constitutional court in the Hartz-IV-sanctions as partly unconstitutional

What incentives could be – against the Background of a rapidly changing labour market due to the digital breaks?

When we think of the digitisation, we need training and retraining. People might need instead of their previous vocational training entirely new skills. You may get only through professional training. But money would have to be taken in Hand. It would have to be tried, instead of using threats and pressure, helping to intervene to give support, to career advice. The job centres are but of of your staffing is not in the position to help the Affected. That is, you have to spend more money.

It seems to me unlikely that it takes more money for a different Social and labour market policy in the Hand. There is more money is there for the armor, for the promotion of E-mobility or the subsidy more expensive cars. But once it comes to provide low-income earners, or Hartz IV recipients better, it is immediately said that this pushed the state financially, and the taxpayer does not do this. I think a rich country like the Federal Republic of Germany has the duty to do more, for the high number of people that will not come out, partially for over ten years of Hartz IV.

Mr Butterwegge, there is a country or a government of Germany in this matter could learn?

The international Situation is such that due to the neo-liberal influence of market mechanisms, more spread, and the welfare state is more likely to be pushed back. The Scandinavian countries are certainly more to state support and assistance. In this respect, it would be possibly a role model. But I see now there is no country that behaves truly exemplary. Everywhere is exercised for some time, more pressure on people who have mental problems and addiction problems. Not remain in the job centers from evil’s sake, but because they are no longer open, for example, for fear of the letters from the jobcenter.

Christoph Butterwegge (* 26. January 1951) was a Professor of political science at the University of Cologne and a member of the research centre for intercultural studies. Since the end of October of 2016 he’s retired. Since his resignation from the SPD, he belongs to no party, but of the Left.

The conversation Ralf Bosen led.