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Towards a Flexible Labour MarketLabour Legislation and Regulation since the 1990s$
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Paul Davies and Mark Freedland

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199217878

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217878.001.0001

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Personal Work Relations and Managerial Adaptability

Personal Work Relations and Managerial Adaptability

(p.15) 2 Personal Work Relations and Managerial Adaptability
Towards a Flexible Labour Market

Paul Davies

Mark Freedland

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the area of personal work relations, i.e., relations between employers and workers which are not mediated through the formal institutions of workers' collective representation. It argues that the main trend during the period under review was one of ‘de-standardization’ of those relations, initially through a straightforward process of de-regulation and later, under ‘New Labour’, through more sophisticated legal and regulatory mechanisms. The main aim of this policy, it is argued, was to promote managerial adaptability, i.e., the ability of employers to respond to changes in demand or methods of production. However, de-standardization was compatible with, and perhaps even required, some cautious conferment of new rights on workers, for example, in the area of ‘family-friendly’ policies. On the other hand, this policy caused difficulties for the government in relation to more far-reaching European proposals for individual rights, whether stemming from the European Court of Human Rights or the institutions of the European Community.

Keywords:   de-regulation, de-standardization, atypical work, working time, family friendly policies, gangmasters, outsourcing, public sector reform, transfers of undertakings, freedom of association

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