Handbook of the Politics of Labour, Work and Employment
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Handbook of the Politics of Labour, Work and Employment

Edited by Gregor Gall

Providing a thorough overview of the political nature and dynamics of the world of work, labour and employment, this timely Handbook draws together an interdisciplinary range of top contributors to explore the interdependent relationship between politics and labour, work and employment. The Handbook explores the purpose, roles, rights and powers of employers and management, workers and unions, states and governments in the age of globalised neo-liberalism.
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Chapter 8: Employers and their representatives: discretion, power, markets and managers in the transformation of twenty-first-century work

Gerald Friedman


This chapter first reviews the rise of long-term employment relationships as part of the creation of the modern business enterprise from the late nineteenth century through to the middle of the twentieth century. This is followed with a discussion of challenges these enterprises faced with changing legal conditions, rising labour militancy, and rapidly changing business conditions in the later twentieth century. Next, it discusses the rise of the ‘gig economy’ or short-term employment using contingent workers, and evaluates the extent of the change in employment and social conditions. Finally, it concludes with some suggestions of appropriate policy responses to these economic changes.

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