The Future of Work, Finance and the Economy Collection

 

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The Future of Work, Finance and the Economy Collection

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This chapter broadens the focus of enquiry to consider the wider institutional opportunities and constraints that shape the lives of young fathers. It highlights the young men’s aspirations to provide materially and financially for their children (the ‘breadwinner’ ideology) and how this ideology dovetails with the ethos of engaged fatherhood. The young men’s varied pathways through education, employment and training (EET) are traced here, revealing the sheer hard work of managing a triple burden of earning, learning and caring over time. The evidence sheds light on the very different EET trajectories that were unfolding for the young men (ranging from skilled to semi-skilled to low-skilled), and the impact of these trajectories on their ability to provide for their children. In considering the policy implications of these findings, the chapter reappraises a normative framework that assumes that early parenthood ‘causes’ social deprivation, and a welfare framework that regards the EET needs and aspirations of young people as a low priority. Debates about a so-called parenting deficit are revisited here. The chapter highlights a counter-narrative that establishes poverty as the underlying driver of both social disadvantage and fragile relationships for substantial numbers of young fathers.

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The question of labour turnover has been variously examined across labour and organization studies, but it has not been studied systematically in relation to international migration. In this book we tackle the question of labour turnover (the churning of workers in and out of workplace organizations) from the perspective of migrant labour. Here we build on the critical strands of labour and migration studies to shift our gaze to the social composition of labour (Wright, 2002), focusing on the specific drivers and subjective and social dynamics that link the phenomenon of labour instability to international migration. We consider the relationship between labour migration and turnover as emblematic of the wider effects of the intersectional differentiation of work and employment on workers’ lives and action for change in capitalist societies. Since the pioneering work of Hirschman (1970), the act of workers quitting their job, described as labour mobility or exit, has indeed been countered to worker voice and presented as an individualistic, opportunistic behaviour taken autonomously by workers, as opposed to engaging in labour collective voice over effort bargaining (usually expressed through trade union representation). The tendency to see turnover as a primarily individualistic behaviour can be found especially in the field of industrial relations, which privileges collective forms of action in the workplace, whether or not institutionally mediated by trade unions (see Smith, 2006; Beynon, 1973). In the field of organization and management studies, scholars have tended to favour a functionalist approach both to the question of turnover and the role of migration in flexible labour markets revolving around costs and efficiency issues for employers, while employment studies have concentrated on the impact of labour mobility on collective bargaining in the workplace.

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This chapter outlines the rationale for the edited collection, before discussing the contemporary nature of industrial relations in Britain. The chapter considers the boundaries of industrial relations as a field of study, reflecting on the importance of having the employment relationship at the heart of industrial relations research. In doing so, the chapter outlines how the developments, tensions and social changes of relevance to work and employment in recent years remain central to the concerns and ongoing research within industrial relations as a field of study.

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In focusing on menopausal women in the labour market and specific workplaces, this edited volume aims to re-theorize the management of people as it relates to the connections between gender, age and the body in organizations. The ‘bodily turn’ in management and organization studies is now nearing the end of its fourth decade (see, for early examples of this research, Burrell, 1984; Hearn et al, 1989; Acker, 1990; Brewis and Grey, 1994), and work which critically unpicks diversity initiatives dates back at least to the early 2000s (for example Kersten, 2000; Lorbiecki and Jack, 2000; Dick and Cassell, 2002). Despite this, the menopause is still rarely discussed in management and organization studies, the sociology of work and employment literature or HRM research. In this introduction, we outline exactly why menopause is a workplace issue as well as reviewing both contemporary UK organizational practice and recent academic research in this space. The introduction concludes with an overview of the volume chapter by chapter.

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The decline in union representation is occurring globally even as the working class has been growing, especially in the Global South. The decline in the global organised workforce contradicts expectations that trade unions would grow in response to growing levels of exploitation prevailing especially in poor countries integrated into global production chains. However, trade unions are not growing stronger but are weaker as industrial and service workers are growing in number. This article reprises the concept of new forms of worker organisation (NFWO), advocated and advanced over the past 25 years and rooted in independent labour entities, including worker centres, syndicalist organisations, and autonomous, unaffiliated unions, and even NGOs. The record of these entities thus far demonstrates that new forms of worker organisation are expanding in response to rank-and-file activism but are ineffective as a replacement for traditional union models in building and consolidating labour power to challenge the rise of precarious and contract labour. This article examines the mixed record of new labour organisations and their failure to confront neoliberal capitalism. To remedy this structural defect, this article contends that existing unions must engage in activism rooted in the precarious working class of the Global South to build trade union power.

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The discourse and policy of ‘entrepreneurial development’ has been critical to the spread of platform-based gig work in India. Digital platforms introducing gig work for location-based services, are perceived as vital in providing opportunities for dignified work marking a break from informality and are accompanied by the state’s push towards cultivating neoliberal subjectivities of ‘self-reliance’. We examine how a discourse of entrepreneurial development and the ‘enterprising self’ underpins the structural conditions of location-based gig work, through an examination of conditions of work in the ride hailing, food delivery and beauty/spa sector, in the Delhi National Capital Region. Although gig work has been defined as fertile ground for enterprise culture to take root, we find that neoliberal subjectivities within it have not thrived. An enterprising spirit can only survive through a subversion of the platform rather than by working on it. Our findings also suggest that gig workers’ drive to earn more, and for autonomy is underpinned by social considerations, including that of survival and mobility for the self and families. Gig work, then, is not a radical break from informality, instead workers experience social and economic insecurity common to informal workforces, which is now reproduced through digital technology and the ‘unexceptional’ change of neoliberalism.

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Nearly three decades ago, Manuel Castells declared the atomising effects of the new technologies of the ‘information age’ to presage the ‘end of labour’. There is little doubt that the labour movement worldwide is no longer the social force it was in the twentieth century. Much of the debate on the future of work and consequences for worker organisation, moreover, has focused on defensive struggles against the introduction of new technologies in the Global North. Technological change has also led, however, to struggles in the Global South. These ‘technological fixes’ have historically contributed to the ‘remaking’ of new working classes and related ‘offensive’ struggles, the latest of which is digitalisation and algorithmic management. In this primarily conceptual article, we adopt a power resources approach to an analysis of these changes, using as our basis, a project encompassing eight empirical case studies on recent labour organising in on-location platform economies of both the Global North and South. Analysis of food-delivery and private ride-hailing platforms in Argentina and Uganda, respectively, showed different varieties of platform unionism, with forms of worker organisation in the Global South tending to more autonomy and hybridity. In some cases, these self-organised worker collectives go beyond established forms of unionism in attempts to control the platform technologies. We conclude by suggesting that the experiments of platform workers with new forms of power and organisation, particularly in the Global South, are important to follow in the Global North.

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The introductory chapter begins with an overview – historical and critical – of the socio-economic problems facing Europe in the context of the decline and possible fall of the capitalist system, with no clear alternative on the horizon. In this way, the chapter sets the context for a discussion of cooperatives and co-operation as a way of working and living that might fill this void. The chapter continues with a brief explanation of the origins of the book and the Cooperative Research Network (CoRNet), and concludes with an overview of the structure, aims and objectives of the book as a whole and a brief summary of chapters, themes and how these are interconnected between themselves and together as a coherent whole.

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Does paid work as we know it meet basic standards of social justice? As the challenges of automation and globalisation reshape the nature of work in radical and dramatic ways, it is critical that we pause to consider the tools with which we chart our course forwards. In contrast to economists, social psychologists, sociologists, political scientists and others have a far richer perspective on the meaning of paid work and its impact on our life. This book argues that we should be striving to understand the positive value that work holds beyond money – the social, psychological benefits felt on the personal level, as well as the broader social and economic benefits of full employment.

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This chapter provides the foundation knowledge needed to understand discrimination based on class and social background, and subsequent chapters of this book. It provides readers with: an overview of leading class theories, including those of Marx, Weber, Bourdieu, and Durkheim; a discussion of social psychology and discrimination; an analysis of class in Australia, South Africa and Canada; and an explanation of discrimination law concepts, including intersectionality.

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