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The hidden damages of labour market deregulation and the underrated merits of trade unions

Pannini, Elisa (2018) The hidden damages of labour market deregulation and the underrated merits of trade unions. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Labour market deregulation has been one of the core policies recommended by international institutions to countries struggling with their employment levels. However, lowering employment protection and disempowering or decentralising collective bargaining mechanisms can have unintended consequences. This thesis examines three related levels of labour market deregulation, considering both its consequences and evaluating different approaches to protecting workers in the labour market, with a focus on the most vulnerable. The first study deals with employment protection rules, and analyses the effects of labour market deregulation on dimensions relate to the risk of poverty, comparing the labour market performance of three countries with different levels of employment protection legislation: Italy, France and the UK. The second focuses on the level of collective bargaining, and analyses the different outcomes of Spanish and Italian reforms on derogations to collective agreements, showing how social actors responded differently depending on union strength and the employers’ approach to industrial relations as shaped by the levels of precarious employment of each labour market. The third analyses the critical case of a local campaign by vulnerable workers that led a British university to bring its cleaning services back in-house after years of outsourcing, showing the successful strategy of an independent union in organising precarious and migrant workers. Each of the three studies explores one of three means of improving workers conditions; variations in employment protection legislation, traditional collective bargaining institutions and disruptive action of independent unions. Findings show that deregulation of employment protection is not the best route to improving the economic chances of the most vulnerable workers, whereas unions’ action can secure better conditions for the workers, both in the formal setting of collective bargaining institutions and in the more confrontational context of local collective action.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Elisa Pannini
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Sets: Departments > Management
Supervisor: Marsden, David and Hancké, Bob and Doellgast, Virginia

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