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 4: Bargaining for Training: Converging or Diverging Interests?

Jason Heyes and Helen Rainbird

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


Jason Heyes and Helen Rainbird 4.1 INTRODUCTION The emphasis placed on continuing vocational training (CVT) in policy debates relating to economic development, the labour market and social inclusion has increased over the past twenty years and shows no signs of diminishing. Skills and knowledge are regarded as critical determinants of the rate of economic growth and important sources of comparative advantage. The diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICT) and technology-intensive production methods is said to have created a need for more highly- and multi-skilled workers in the manufacturing sector, while the growth of new service sector industries has created a need for an increased supply of ‘knowledge workers’. While the nature, extent and implications of these developments are matters of debate, there can be little doubt that the creation of mechanisms to ensure that an adequate level of investment in training and development occurs is a pre-requisite for economic development and therefore represents an important task for the state. In many European countries, employers and trade unions also play an important role in labour administration activities relating to training and development. Vocational training has been a classic arena for the development of corporatist arrangements, whereby the state delegates responsibilities to the representative organizations of employers and employees (Schmitter and Streeck 1986) as a means of avoiding market failure. Training has also become an increasingly important issue for collective bargaining, although it must be admitted that joint regulation of training (where it exists) remains at an embryonic stage in many...

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