The Role of Collective Bargaining in the Global Economy

The Role of Collective Bargaining in the Global Economy

Negotiating for Social Justice

Edited by Susan Hayter

This book examines the ways in which collective bargaining addresses a variety of workplace concerns in the context of today’s global economy. Globalization can contribute to growth and development, but as the recent financial crisis demonstrated, it also puts employment, earnings and labour standards at risk. This book examines the role that collective bargaining plays in ensuring that workers are able to obtain a fair share of the benefits arising from participation in the global economy and in providing a measure of security against the risk to employment and wages. It focuses on a commonly neglected side of the story and demonstrates the positive contribution that collective bargaining can make to both economic and social goals. The various contributions examine how this fundamental principle and right at work is realized in different countries and how its practice can be reinforced across borders. They highlight the numerous resulting challenges and the critically important role that governments play in rebalancing bargaining power in a global economy. The chapters are written in an accessible style and deal with practical subjects, including employment security, workplace change and productivity, and working time.

Chapter 3: Negotiating Working Time in Fragmented Labour Markets: Realizing the Promise of ‘Regulated Flexibility’

Sangheon Lee and Deirdre McCann

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, social policy and sociology, economics of social policy


3. Negotiating working time in fragmented labour markets: realizing the promise of “regulated flexibility” Sangheon Lee and Deirdre McCann 3.1 INTRODUCTION1 This chapter examines one dimension of innovation in collective bargaining, in the area of working time, and reflects on its potential for developing countries. In the working time context, the notion of bargaining innovation tends to be ascribed to negotiations that both secure productivity improvements and extend to workers a degree of influence or control over their working hours. The type of regulatory structure that can most effectively realize this goal is also widely accepted to be one in which the potential for individual choice over working hours is embedded in a strongly protective regulatory framework (Lee and McCann 2006). A question that remains unanswered, and one central to this chapter, is the degree to which innovative bargaining on working time is relevant or appropriate to regulatory frameworks in the fragmented labour markets that characterize developing countries. The portability of such strategies and the accompanying institutional frameworks has been the subject of growing interest in recent decades, as part of a heightened preoccupation with the role of labour market regulation in low-income setting (see Lee and McCann 2011). This chapter is intended to contribute to the debate and builds on the authors’ prior work on the role of working time norms in the context of the labour markets and legal environments of developing countries. In doing so, the chapter extends to low-income settings the concerns and preoccupations of a...

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