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Trade Unions and the Rise of Contingent Labour in the United Kingdom: Challenges, Opportunities and the Trade Union Response

Valizade, Danat (2015) Trade Unions and the Rise of Contingent Labour in the United Kingdom: Challenges, Opportunities and the Trade Union Response. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis is a rigorous empirical investigation into the trade union response to contingent labour in the United Kingdom. It contributes to knowledge and understanding about trade union strategies and methods directed towards contingent workers and casts light on challenges and opportunities posed to trade unions by the rise of contingent labour. The thesis challenges a dual labour market theory that rests on the assumption that labour markets are structured homogeneously into primary and secondary segments populated by contingent workers and standard employees respectively. It demonstrates explicitly that at least within trade union membership dynamic converging and diverging tendencies between primary and secondary segments distort a frontier between them and thereby affect employee behaviours. This has profound implications for trade unions, as their responses to contingent labour are still predicated upon the existence of dichotomous labour markets. The thesis uncovered internal inconsistency of strategies and methods employed by trade unions such that instead of being inherently inclusive they appear to be rather pragmatic and driven by dynamic tendencies between the membership segments. In general, trade unions confronted with a diverging tendency between their primary and secondary membership segments struggled to articulate systematic responses to contingent work. This occurred because trade unions have yet to address challenges emanating from such dynamic processes, especially in relation to the differences between contingent workers’ and standard employees’ attitudes towards trade unions. Taken together, these findings suggest that cohesion and inclusiveness of trade union responses to contingent labour depend largely on the trade unions’ ability to absorb converging and diverging tendencies between their membership segments.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: trade unions, contingent labour, dual labour markets
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Leeds University Business School
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.685247
Depositing User: Dr Danat Valizade
Date Deposited: 16 May 2016 10:38
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:48
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12967

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