This book presents new theories and international empirical evidence on the state of work and employment around the world. Changes in production systems, economic conditions and regulatory conditions are posing new questions about the growing use by employers of precarious forms of work, the contradictory approaches of governments towards employment and social policy, and the ability of trade unions to improve the distribution of decent employment conditions. Designed as a tribute to the highly influential contributions of Jill Rubery, the book proposes a ‘new labour market segmentation approach’ for the investigation of issues of job quality, employment inequalities, and precarious work. This approach is distinctive in seeking to place the changing international patterns and experiences of labour market inequalities in the wider context of shifting gender relations, regulatory regimes and production structures.
per cent, respectively (in cumulative
terms). The multi-layered and coordinated system of collective bargaining led to
important wageinequalities, especially between the public and private sectors,
but at the same time reinforced the middle of the wage distribution through
national bargaining on sector and occupational minima and established relatively
low inequality in the bottom half of the wage distribution; the pre-crisis Kaitz
level was still higher than the EU average in 2008 (Figure 17.3). As for the real
value of the minimum wage (purchasing power), this
or oppose the collective demands of labor? Do
networks promote new divisions and new inequalities among workers? (Grimshaw
et al., 2005: 40)
These remain key questions today in the analysis of networked forms of production. Where is value created and how and where is it extracted? Does
outsourcing deliver on promises of increased efficiency and, if so, do workers share in productivity gains? How are workers allocated among different
organisations in an inter-firm network? How does this affect the quality of
jobs, wage growth, wageinequality and the power of
. Minimum wages,
on the other hand, are generally below the low-wage threshold (less than twothirds of the median wage) and therefore compress wages only in the lower
deciles of the income distribution.
Research in many countries has produced similar results. In their survey of 49
studies on collective agreements and wageinequality in recent decades in both
developed and developing countries, Hayter and Weinberg (2011) show that
wageinequality in the economy as a whole is reduced by collective agreements.
Certainly it would be desirable if the trade unions were in a
Damian Grimshaw, Colette Fagan, Gail Hebson and Isabel Tavora
which include measures to foster
men’s involvement in care)
ÿ Support for stronger trade union
mobilisation and representation
ÿ Investment in public sector
Theoretical implications for
policy and practice
Likely characteristics of inequalities
• Diverse minimum wage intersections with collective bargaining and social protection systems
influence low wageinequalities
• Varied ‘participative standards’ shape wage bargaining power
• Low-wage workforce composition varies
with household structures, VET systems and
the collective bargaining model,
opened new potentialities for employer policy and practice. The legislation
grants privileged status to the company agreement and therefore provides
new ways for companies to detach themselves from the conditions collectively agreed at sector and regional levels. This offers new opportunities to
the myriad small and medium-sized businesses with scarce union representation for introducing labour conditions à la carte, and of generally increasing
wageinequality and differences in labour conditions. While it is still early to
: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 2001), p. 187.
B. Nolan, B. Maitre, D. O’Neill and O. Sweetman, The Distribution of
Income in Ireland (Dublin: Oak Tree Press, 2000), p. 31.
United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report
2001 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 182.
A. Barrett, T. Callan and B. Nolan, ‘Rising wageinequality, returns to education and labour market institutions: evidence from Ireland’, British
Journal of Industrial Relations, 37:1 (1999), p. 84.
B. Nolan and G. Hughes, Low Pay, the Earnings Distribution and Poverty
in Ireland, working
universalism, egalitarianism and individual rights. The Swedish model is also founded on a strong
political commitment to the goal of full employment. Sweden stands out as providing one type of societal system based on high employment rates, with only
a small gender gap; a high incidence of dual-earner households; extensive and
generous family policies; strong welfare support systems for childcare, parental leave and elderly care; and egalitarian wage structures, including relatively
low gender wageinequality. Furthermore, the overall political context, which
insecurity and higher job strain (especially the low-skilled).
The dynamics of wageinequality depicted in the OECD job quality index
must be seen against a context of falling ‘average’ earnings. Additionally, most
of the jobs lost during the crisis were predominantly low-paid (Istat, 2015: 157).
These two factors result in a deceptive increase in earnings quality. In effect, like
all other ‘crisis’ countries (but also the UK, see Blundell et al., 2014), between
2010 and 2016 Italy suffered a reduction in real wages (Figure 14.2). An important factor has been the
public debt using innovative ways of financing public goods, Fourth,
there were regular refinements of the agreement between employers
and trade unions, leading to wage restraint and a moderation of wageinequality. A main theme was tax reform. The reform of 1990 lowered
tax rates, while 1999 saw a further reduction in rates, and shifted
the tax burden from workers and employers towards energy