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Globalization and Precarious Forms of Production and Employment

Challenges for Workers and Unions Edited by Carole Thornley, Senior Lecturer, Keele Management School, Keele University, UK, Steve Jefferys, formerly Director, Working Lives Research Institute, London Metropolitan University, UK and Beatrice Appay, Senior Research Fellow, CNRS, France
This important and cross-disciplinary book explores globalization alongside precarious forms of production and employment, and how these factors have impacted on workers and trade unions.
Extent: 272 pp
Hardback Price: $136.00 Web: $122.40
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 978 1 84844 593 2
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  • Business and Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Economics and Finance
  • Political Economy
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Political Economy
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Labour Policy
This important and cross-disciplinary book explores globalization alongside precarious forms of production and employment, and how these factors have impacted on workers and trade unions.

The contributors, all leading scholars in their field, investigate central issues including: the role and behaviour of transnational corporations; flexibility, insecurity, individualized and precarious work; individual and collective responses; and ideological forms and justifications. Using rich, diverse examples and case studies they also explore a full range of industries and sectors including agriculture, manufacture, services and state employment, encompassing both mature capitalist economies and global outsourcing to less developed regions.

This innovative and timely book provides a multidisciplinary analysis that advances underdeveloped theories and will stimulate further debate and contributions on the roles of states, employers and workers’ organizations, as well as ideology and democracy. It will strongly appeal to academics who work, study or research the interrelated fields of global economy and international sociology, globalization, management, human resource management, employee and industrial relations, sociology of work, and international political economy.
‘. . . the book provides some valuable and fascinating insights into the increasingly precarious nature of modern work and raises issues which should be of concern to anyone interested in the idea of a fairer and more equal society.’
– Tony Royle, Work, Employment and Society

‘This book makes a unique and invaluable contribution to our understanding of the changing nature of employment and its consequences for industrialized societies. It combines industry case studies, company case studies, and specific country case studies to paint a multi-dimensional picture of the spread of precarious employment and the responses by trade unions and other worker mobilizations. In addition, the astute theoretical chapters demonstrate how the trend toward precarization is reshaping power relationships in ways that have significant implications for individual security and well-being, collective agency and empowerment, societal equality and stability, and the vitality of democracy itself. Together these essays provide an exceptionally rich picture and insightful analysis of these important trends in contemporary industrialized societies.’
– Katherine V.W. Stone, UCLA School of Law, US

‘Precarious work has become a central model for organizing contemporary employment. Covering precarity in an unprecedented spectrum of sectors – manufacturing, agriculture, retail, IT, services – this book is an invaluable research tool. More, in its accessibility it will set the pace for teachable texts in this emerging field. Covering an equally broad range of international experiences, this book for the first time introduces work not previously available in English. Its broad international coverage allows the authors to burst the conceptual bubble of even some of the left’s own most cherished categories. It analyses responses by workers and unions, and evaluates strategies that have and haven’t worked. Read it, teach it, take it to work!’
– Neil Smith, University of New York, US

‘Globalization and Precarious Forms of Production and Employment makes an important and timely contribution to scholarly debates about the nature and dynamics of precarious employment as they are shaped by global processes of production, distribution, and exchange. The volume’s coverage of macro, meso, and micro level developments posing challenges and opportunities for workers and unions, together with its effective mix of country, region and industry-specific case studies, drawn from a wide range of contexts within and outside English language contexts is impressive indeed. It is essential reading for scholars, students, and activists in North and South America, Europe and Australasia, concerned not only about understanding precariousness but the continued importance of democratic collective responses questioning its spread. Its editors are to be congratulated on producing an original and tightly focused collection of quality essays.’
– Leah F. Vosko, York University, Canada
Contributors: B. Appay, D. Bailey, I. Berrebi-Hoffmann, R. Bouchareb, I. Campbell, P. Chaskiel, D. Coffey, H. Connolly, S. Contrepois, I. da Costa, A. de Ruyter, J. Frassa, S. Jefferys, M. Lallement, N. Lichtenstein, M. Mahdon, B. Mésini, L. Muñiz Terra, A. Naclerio, M. Pernod-Lemattre, U. Rehfeldt, F. Sarfati, J. Thoemmes, C. Thornley
Contents:

1. Introduction: Globalization and Precarious Forms of Production and Employment: Challenges for Workers and Unions
Carole Thornley, Steve Jefferys and Beatrice Appay

2. In the Age of Wal-Mart: Precarious Work and Authoritarian Management in the Global Supply Chain
Nelson Lichtenstein

3. ‘Precarization’ and Flexibility in the Labour Process: A Question of Legitimacy and a Major Challenge for Democracy
Beatrice Appay

4. Legitimating Precarious Employment: Aspects of the Post-Fordism and Lean Production Debates
Dan Coffey and Carole Thornley

5. Global Restructuring of Transnational Companies: Negotiations in the Auto Industry
Isabel da Costa and Udo Rehfeldt

6. Trade Unions Facing Uncertainty in Central and Eastern Europe
Sylvie Contrepois and Steve Jefferys

7. Seasonal Workers in Mediterranean Agriculture: Flexibility and Insecurity in a Sector Under Pressure
Beatrice Mésini

8. The Rise in Precarious Employment and Union Responses in Australia
Iain Campbell

9. Hyper-flexibility in the IT Sector: Myth or Reality?
Isabelle Berrebi-Hoffmann, Michel Lallement, Martine Pernod-Lemattre and François Sarfati

10. The Increasing Use of ‘Market’ Concepts in Negotiations, and Contextualizing Factors
Jens Thoemmes

11. Trade Union Responses to Privatization and Restructuring of Production in Argentina in the 1990s: Similarities and Differences in Two State-owned Companies
Juliana Frassa, Leticia Muñiz Terra and Alejandro Naclerio

12. Organizing and Mobilizing Precarious Workers in France: The Case of Cleaners in the Railways
Heather Connolly

13. Growing Power Asymmetries, Individualization and the Continuing Relevance of Collective Responses
Rachid Bouchareb

14. Changing Lanes or Stuck in the Slow Lane? Employment Precariousness and Labour Market Status of MG Rover Workers Four Years After Closure
Alex de Ruyter, David Bailey and Michelle Mahdon

15. ‘Politics of Production’, A New Challenge for Unionism: Workers Facing Citizens in the French Civil Nuclear Energy
Patrick Chaskiel

Index