Negotiating for Social Justice
Edited by Susan Hayter
Chapter 12: Conclusion
12. Conclusion Susan Hayter 12.1 INTRODUCTION Global economic integration intensified competitive pressures. In response, many enterprises introduced new forms of work organization and adopted more flexible employment practices (Ozaki, 1999). In some countries, this was accompanied by the individualization of employment relations as union membership declined. New technologies and more flexible work processes also opened up options for where and how to organize work. This, together with the increased mobility of capital tilted bargaining power in favour of employers. These and other factors associated with globalization present important challenges to collective bargaining and the regulation of wages, working conditions and employment relations through collective agreements. Yet as the various chapters in this volume demonstrate, collective bargaining remains a critically important means for ensuring that for workers, participation in the global economy is balanced, fair and just. Five important themes emerge out of the different contributions to this volume. The first concerns the role of governments. They need to play an enabling role, creating an environment within which meaningful collective bargaining can take place. The second theme relates to the role of collective bargaining in labour market governance. Contrary to the view that collective bargaining imposes a performance-inhibiting rigidity, in some countries with well developed industrial relations systems, collective bargaining provides a responsive and reflexive form of regulation. In developing countries, where industrial relations institutions are weaker, collective bargaining can be an important mechanism for monitoring statutory standards in organized sectors and enterprises, leaving the state to devote its limited resources...
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