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The Crisis and Precarious Work Irish Economic Policy Conference 2014 Dr. Thomas Turner & Dr. Michelle O’Sullivan, University of Limerick.

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Presentation on theme: "The Crisis and Precarious Work Irish Economic Policy Conference 2014 Dr. Thomas Turner & Dr. Michelle O’Sullivan, University of Limerick."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Crisis and Precarious Work Irish Economic Policy Conference 2014 Dr. Thomas Turner & Dr. Michelle O’Sullivan, University of Limerick

2 Outline Focus on –Challenges for unions following crisis public & private sectors immigration –Challenge for dispute resolution system following crisis

3 Union density

4 Public and private sector union density

5 Trends in working conditions 5

6 Employee experiences 6

7 Crisis & Unions in Public Sector Union presence still strong but likely difficulty in maintaining density levels –Pay cuts & deteriorating conditions –Voluntary redundancies amongst older age groups –Lack of solidarity & consensus amongst unions

8 Challenges in Private sector Difficulty in accessing & protecting workers Changing profile of union members (about 20% are unionised) Fragility of wage setting for precarious workers Tensions regarding migrant workers

9 Low pay 2/3 medium earnings=€10.86 Low pay Private sector % Private sector Less than €8.2310%2.5% JLC: €8.23-€9.6852%13% €9.69 – € %9.5% Low pay total100%25%

10 Wage setting mechanisms Threats to JLCs & REAs Importance of State support – Labour Party Costs – loss of protection, more bureaucratic system Benefits – some JLCs moved to REA system

11 Hourly Earnings By Nationality & Unionisation – Private Sector

12 Attitudes to allowing immigrants access in EU countries

13 Proportion agreeing with allowing in many or no immigrants from the same or different ethnic race 13

14 Crisis & Dispute Resolution Crisis led to significant increases in referrals to state bodies Such increases a symptom of industrial relations & legal systems

15 Referrals to State bodies

16 Regulated; Restrictions to collectivising Disorganised; Reliance on law Unionised sub- system Non- unionised sub- system Sub-systems

17 Contrast: The Swedish Employment Rights System Collectivist orientation –no state agencies except LC Cases referred to the Labour Court: averaging 400 to 450 Union involvement in the dispute resolution process is mandated through legislation Disputes handled directly between union and employer Minimum intervention of the law or third parties In many instances, the ‘priority right of interpretation’ is assigned to the ‘established union’

18 Conclusion Crisis & work –Worsening conditions in public sector and private sector –Employees in precarious jobs further weakened by crisis Immigration –Significant increase in negative attitudes between 2006 and 2010 –the decline in positive attitudes to immigrants highest in Greece and Ireland Dispute resolution –Crisis accelerated trends in referrals to state bodies –Underlying cause: separation of collective and individual disputes in law; weak role afforded to unions in dispute resolution


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