To save this undefined to your undefined account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your undefined account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
It is a characteristic of platform capitalism that struggles to re-embed digital platform work within institutionalised forms of employment have been set in motion by new labour actors (i.e. self-organised, grassroots unions). Contrary to the view that these new actors signify the decades-long decline of traditional unions, evidence increasingly highlights their continued relevance to the labour–capital relations of platform capitalism. We argue that dynamic interactions between ‘old’ and ‘new’ labour actors in platform capitalism are influenced by national union traditions that emerge more vividly when struggles to re-embed labour relations require the transition to more institutionalised forms of labour resistance. We develop this argument based on a longitudinal qualitative study of labour struggles in the food delivery sector in the city of Bologna, Italy. We pay particular attention to the dynamics of intra-labour actor relations that have unfolded in the sector across different temporally based events of contention in the city. As we illustrate, synergies between the two were prompted by the self-organised workers’ need to rely on partners with an ‘official’ status when re-embedding procedures required; yet, collaboration was also favoured by what we describe as a ‘posture of respect’ developed by the traditional union vis-à-vis the self-organised informal union, particularly with regard to their quest for autonomy from traditional union structures. We interpret this approach of the established labour actor in line with its traditional orientation as ‘class’ actor, whose actions look beyond the membership so as to expand solidarity to all workers, including in new productive (platform) sectors.
This article analyses the impact of the Great Recession and radical labour market deregulation on employer associations’ (EAs) membership levels and composition in Southern Europe. It also reviews the literature and advances it in four relevant aspects. First, it verifies a general decrease in membership of EAs in Southern Europe, almost to the point of collapse in Greece. Secondly, it identifies the greater importance of large companies (more than Fordist economic sectors) in the composition of this membership. Thirdly, it confirms that sectoral bargaining (as a major determinant) and union representation (an element weakened by reforms) are strong company-level incentives for membership in EAs. Finally, it re-examines the reasons put forward in the scholarly literature to explain why EAs in Southern Europe have not been in favour of these significant institutional changes.
This article is part of an internationally coordinated themed collection on ‘labour conflict, forms of organisation, and class’ exploring important questions. How can we explain the interplay of capital, the state, and the international order, in defining the persistence of labour conflict in changing historical and political-economic contexts? How have the economic, social, and technological transformations precipitated by the recent pandemic shaped the expression of work-related conflict? As part of a response to these main questions, the author and contributors of this collection conceptualise labour conflict and collective action in broader class analysis and examine the combined effect of state policies, migration, and digital innovation on contemporary labour politics. This article, drawing on insights from Marxist-oriented interdisciplinary approaches and feminist theories, seeks to suggest approaches to future studies on class, labour conflict, and workers’ organisation.
In this paper, we present empirical research on what we call ‘digital worker feedback infrastructures’ (DWFI); these are communication systems based on digital technologies that allow for creating so-called ‘feedback data’ via different forms of information input of workers in global value chains (GVC). The paper provides an overview of over 50 current DWFIs in GVCs and asks about the main differences between management-oriented and worker-centred digital feedback infrastructures in their usage of worker data. In the first part, we trace the emergence of DWFIs at the intersection of different trends: the continuous non-improvement of working conditions through auditing, the permanent politicisation, and contestation of this fact through labour and activist networks as well as the development of new digital technologies. In the second section, we elaborate the main features of DWFIs and analyse potential shortcomings in the context of the ‘ethical’ audit and monitoring regime for GVCs. Third, we use our dataset to present an overview of the heterogeneity of DWFIs. We pay particular attention to examples of civil society developed tools as we suggest that they provide a glimpse of the potential of worker feedback technologies from below, which could contribute to better monitoring of worker rights and facilitate a more democratic coordination of workplaces and GVCs.
This paper focuses on the migrant pay gap in Spain. Going beyond descriptive evidence of the differences between immigrants and nationals in terms of wages, we analyse which part of the gross wage is most affected by features that cannot be captured using econometric models. Relying on microdata from the Wage Structure Survey, we divide the total gross wage into two main parts: base wage and wage supplements. Then we decompose the migrant wage gap into the explained and the unexplained terms, using a simple decomposition methodology, the Oaxaca-Blinder model. Our results show that a part of the differences in wage supplements does not seem to be explained by the set of control variables introduced in the model and that this effect is more pronounced when only men are considered. These findings offer a new perspective on the migrant pay gap in Spain and point to the importance of wage-setting practices related to wage supplements in explaining (and widening) the total migrant pay gap in our country.
In recent decades, the labour share has experienced a downward trend in Portugal at the same time as a weaker and anaemic growth pattern. This seems to suggest that the fall in the labour share represents an important constraint on Portuguese economic growth, which is contrary to the orthodox claims around wage restraint policies – namely, that such policies are a necessary condition of improved macroeconomic performance, owing to their positive effects on private investment through higher profits and on net exports through reduced unit labour costs and a corresponding rise in competitiveness. This study assesses the relationship between labour share growth and economic growth by performing a time series econometric analysis focused on Portugal from 1971 to 2021. Findings show that labour share growth has positively impacted on economic growth in Portugal, which is in line with heterodox claims and particularly with post-Keynesian economics on the beneficial effects on private consumption played by the growth of wages. Findings also confirm that the Portuguese economy has followed a wage-led growth regime instead of a profit-led growth regime; that is, a rise in wages increases aggregate demand and, therefore, boosts economic growth because its beneficial effect on private consumption more than compensates for a prejudicial effect on private investment and on net exports. The study points out the urgent need to adopt public policies to support the growth of wages to avoid more decades of dismal growth and a new ‘secular stagnation’ in Portugal.
The concept of Smart Specialisation (S3) as a foundation of regional development has spread far beyond the European Union. In Australia, S3 appeared first in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, but was applied in its most developed form in the Gippsland region of Victoria. Despite its growing influence, S3 has come in for criticism. In this article, we look at the way that the Foundational Economy (FE) and the related concept of Deep Place (DP) analysis have been promoted as potential answers to these limitations. I question how far FE and DP should be seen as an extension of or an alternative to S3. I look to more extensive approaches that have been put forward.
The vulnerability associated with the drudgery of drivers in the ride-hailing enterprise of the platform economy has come under both public scrutiny and scholarly study. There remains, however, a dearth of knowledge around how driver vulnerabilities are produced and maintained, and which actors drive those. This paper contributes to the discourse by unpacking how the political economy of digital capitalism plays out to undermine the fortunes of ride-hailing drivers in Ghana. Using qualitative interviews and focus group discussions, the paper shows that drivers’ vulnerabilities stem primarily from the unbridled control over the means of production, which are the digital platforms and the vehicles, as well as the ensuing unequal power relations between capital owners and drivers as capital producers. The paper also characterises the ambivalent role of the State as a capitalist agent that maintains the status quo, albeit nuanced. The need to interrogate alternatives to augment State regulation is therefore recommended for mediating the relationship between capital owners and drivers as capital producers. Effective alternatives would be reducing capital’s monopoly by replacing private, foreign platforms with local public platforms and strengthening drivers’ collective agency to mediate the excessive power of the capital owners.
The present study discusses the current wage situation in India and the need for living wages as workers and employees grapple with the cost of living crisis. A case study of two districts of Madhya Pradesh (MP) state is presented to demonstrate how the living wage benchmarks based on the Anker Methodology compare with existing minimum wage fixations and other development indicators. The living wage benchmarking is based on field surveys conducted in Ratlam and Chhindwara districts in October–December 2021, and a rigorous analysis of nationally representative consumption and expenditure surveys conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation and the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy. Our living wage estimates are 1.8 times the minimum wages for agricultural labourers and 43% more than those earned by non-agricultural unskilled labourers. Moreover, the actual wages reported are less than half of the estimated living wages, indicating that the current incomes and wages for workers and farmers of rural MP are far from adequate to lead a decent life.
The effect of trade liberalisation on the welfare of workers depends on the nature and magnitude of switching costs that workers face in moving across sectors. This paper investigates the impact of trade liberalisation on the gender wage gap in China, emphasising the role of sectoral switching costs in driving the effect. Using the local labour market approach as the identification strategy, I find that a one-standard-deviation increase in regional trade exposure is associated with a 3.2% increase in the gender wage gap during the 1992–2009 period. The emergence of the empirical pattern is mainly because the sectoral switching costs are larger for females than males. Since trade liberalisation leads to labour reallocation across sectors, the presence of asymmetric sectoral switching costs thus prevents female workers initially employed in the manufacturing sector from accessing advanced service industries, resulting in a rising gender wage gap after the trade. As a response, female manufacturing workers are forced to either be employed in low-skill service industries or exit the labour market. This paper carries strong implications for policies that both promote gender equity and help trade-displaced workers.
The study looks at the defining features of various labour dispute resolution modes and their appropriateness in Zimbabwe. Researchers used a qualitative approach to collect and analyse data, drawing on a purposive sampling method to select and distribute open-ended questionnaires to 38 participants. The study established that the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) modes used in Zimbabwe are collective bargaining, conciliation, and arbitration, all formalised and regulated by the Labour Act (2015). Nevertheless, these ADR mechanisms have numerous flaws including, that they are not ‘culturally’ close to citizens, and as a result, access to justice is still a challenge, they are also expensive and cannot be easily understood by ordinary employees. Accordingly, the study recommends that the government amend the Labour Act (2015) to return to the old conciliation and arbitration system which was decentralised to the districts. When making the amendments to the Labour Act, the government should also consult with general employees and employers, because they are the victims of the current system. Furthermore, workers’ committees and trade unions should also be empowered to support and educate employees.