Regulating precarious work: the hidden role of the Global Union Federations

Cotton, Elizabeth (2013) Regulating precarious work: the hidden role of the Global Union Federations. In: Vulnerable Workers and Precarious Working. Sargeant, Malcolm ORCID logoORCID: and Ori, Marina, eds. Adapt Labour Studies . Cambridge Scholars publishing, pp. 71-91. ISBN 9781443848978. [Book Section]


The debate about regulating precarious work is a defining one in the field of international employment relations, challenging long standing approaches to regulating the employment relationship. The argument of this chapter is that framing thinking about the future of employment relations within a broad definition of precarious work has a catastrophising tendency. In a context of global recession and flexibilization of labour, the problem of precarity broadly understood is not solvable. The term “precarious work” is a mis-representation of the diverse and specific forms of externalization that exist, overlooking the specificity of different forms of work organization. This not only causes a catastrophisation of the problem of externalized labour, it serves to obscure concrete steps that can be taken to reduce labour insecurity. Additionally, the current “precariat” debate has “airbrushed out” trades unions overlooking the substantive work being done by unions including their international bodies, the Global Union Federations (GUFs). The central argument of this chapter is that by addressing specific categories of externalized labour, some clear and immediate avenues for improving regulation can be identified. Additionally, by introducing the work of the GUFs and their affiliates in tackling the multinational companies driving the externalization of labour, a significant area of regulatory potential can be tapped. Specifically, this chapter argues for the development of international agreements with key multinational companies to secure transnational labour protections.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords (uncontrolled): Precarious work, international employment relations, Global Union Federations, Private Employment Agencies, International Regulation, Corporate Social Responsibility, Temporary Agency Work
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations > Employment Relations group
A. > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations
Item ID: 14336
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Depositing User: Elizabeth Cotton
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2015 14:06
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:32

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