Capital Reintegration into Supply Chains and its Implications for Labour Law

International Employment Relations Association
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Employment Relations Record, 2006, 6 (2), pp. 1 - 19
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The task of regulation, particularly the regulation of work is becoming more complex. Consequently, labour law initiatives are becoming more sophisticated. This paper uses supply chain or commodity chain analysis (2) to assist with an understanding of the causes of contingent work (3) and to comment on the best way of regulating work. To that end, the paper examines the reintegration of large-scale profit-making organizations into chains characterized by hierarchy and control. It will be shown that this aspect of commodity chain analysis resonates with explanations of contingent work drawing on 'macro-social factors'--such as change in state regulatory approaches, the changing balance of power between capital and labour, and the constant pursuit of profit by capital. It is argued that an explanation drawing on business integration into commodity chains and macro-social factors has significant advantages over alternative explanations of the rise in contingent work, such as those that focus on a paradigm shift from Fordism and the large firm to flexible specialization and 'flat' networks of smaller firms.
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