Negotiating for Social Justice
Edited by Susan Hayter
Chapter 4: Bargaining for Training: Converging or Diverging Interests?
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...