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Legal Response to Labour Issues.docx

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University of Regina
Justice Studies
Stefan Idziak

Legal Response to Labour Issues  Discrimination o hard to claim, but there are legal discrimination o becomes easier with clear standards and benchmarks o most remedies available only to those employees who have already less  Global Labour Standards o could be enforced via tariffs, tax incentives  non-citizens particularly vulnerable  income inequality o not directly a labour law question, but does have a labour implication Arthurs "The Transformation of Work, the Disappearnce of "Workers" and the Future of Workplace RegulatioN" 2009  from 1950s to 1970s, wokers enjoyed rising wages, more job security, greater workplace protections, and so on  we have stuff like minimum wages, progressive income taxation, living wage campaigns, etc as a result of unions and social democratic parties o all in the context of favorable labour market conditions, by an expanding and increasingly productive economy  changes started happeing in the 1970s  Changes  Technology o intensified the division of labour and its geographical dispersal o polarized workforce by creating some knowledge workers, but consigning unskilled workers to the margin o increasingly self-managed workers in knowledge sector, unskilled increasingly disciplined and monitored by computers o accelerating change and rapid obsolecense of woker skill  Shfit from Manufacturing to service o manufacturing jobs lost, moved to lower paying, less benefit jobs in the service sector with low levelf o unionization  flexibilization of the workforce o jobs no longer permanent, employees will be let go ASAP where needed o part=time, sort-time work used as a reserve army of labour  demography o increasingly heterogenous workforce, more women and visible minorities o young people older than they used to be when (and if) they get jobs o so more and more diverse, but perhaps solidarity more challenging  globalization o outscouring in a global labour market o emloyers have the option to move manufacturing and service jobs away from well-paid unionized workers to cheaper countries  mere threat of moving has downward effect on wages.  Disappearance of Workers  idea of people identified as "workers" or "working class" increasingly sounds anachronistic  people identify as consumer, or perhaps when experiencing unfairness as members of a disenfranchised group  solidarity building exercise of workers working together under poor conditions no longer exists  Shouldn't pretend some things haven't gotten better- working people are better off than they used to be, but as a qualtitative description of a group "workers" have disappeared as a sociological category  but in a quantitative sense, there are still a great many workers o and they have a lot to be mad about o income inequality, inequality in livign conditions, paritcipation in politicas, educational and occupational opportunities, etc.  but for whateever reason, labour movement in disarray o labour issues rarely central to political debates o unions increasingly unable to "deliver the vote" o labour ministries shrinking in response o workers not viewed as a constituency, but rather as a resource that must be trained, developed, and so in order to improve business  The future of workplace regulation o interest in creating new labour standards very low o as is restructing the labour market to ensure full employmnet  globalization and monetarist policies have put unemployment int he hands of bankers, and neo-liberalism makes regulation anatehma o collective bargainig weaked as well  US failure to pass card-check o even putatively pro-labour government aren't adopting new labour legislation  everyone focused on keepign the economy going  economy dictating policy to government o because the average worker and the average job is changing, labour policy needs to adjust  can't just focus on the male breadwinner in the vertically integrated company  different kinds of workers have different kinds of needs and must be accomodated  and unions sometimes view this as zero-sum, accomodating one person means depriving another  colective bargainign on a plant-to-plant basis makes little sense when everyone is changing jobs so ofte  flexible workforce aso makes provision of benefits more complicated, and part-time workforce often not getting access to these "employment" benefits.  manufacturing jobs no longer the norm  may need some transnational law since employers can pick up and leave  may need to consider who should be responsible for paying for the constant retraining necessary for a worker to adapt with the rapidly changing technology and employment  how do maximum hours, overtime, etc function in a "Just in time" world where businesses are expected to be open around the clock.  Three options o forget abotu labour law, and focus on human rights rather than workers' rights o try and work within capitalism and laissez fair  afterall, under capitalism some employers realized high-performance systems that reqarded "emplowered" workers and treated them well increased performance and productivity o try and resusicitate the labour movement  there are some new successful organizing campaigns among low-paid service workers  unions and social movements may unit to try and get gains for everyone via. living wages, work-life balance  professionals, skilled technicians, athletes all have new strategies and institutions of collective action that may be exportable.  this will depend to the extent that crises in capitalism will make people aware of the precariousness of their position, and remind them of the fallibility of capitalism  so it is possible that like the street railways being revived as LRT, labour standards may reappeare in the 21st centurty, re-engineered, renamed, and ready to go as a vehicle of a revived workers'
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