Chapter 4: Vulnerability and precarious work in the law
The aim of this chapter is to investigate the law and policy relating to precarious work and vulnerable workers at international, supranational and national levels. This law and policy will be positioned in relation to the possible theoretical perspectives on vulnerability introduced in the previous chapters of this book. In particular, there will be a comparison between the different geographical levels in terms of how far the law and policy aims towards selective, universalistic or mid-spectrum goals, and how far the law and policy suggest top-down or ‘bottom-up’ approaches to regulation. There will be a particular focus on the ‘fit’ of the law in these different jurisdictions with the vulnerability theory introduced in the previous chapters. It will be suggested that, at each geographical level, approaches which correspond to some degree with the vulnerable subject approach can be identified, but that a more comprehensive and systematic approach needs to be adopted if the precepts of vulnerability theory are to be properly realised. Of course, this analysis is complicated by a number of factors. First, the law and policy of the different institutions responsible for regulation (and particularly the regulation of precarious work) at different geographical levels has changed over time. These changes reflect different social and economic developments, but also represent the development of a changing theoretical focus within the institutions concerned.
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