Non Standard, Precarious Employment and Constraints to Collective Action: Reinventing union power

Edwin Chukwumah Anisha


In the last three to four decades, the popular notion of employment relationship has transformed considerably, reflecting a shift in the field of industrial and employment relations from the ‘language of rights’ to the
‘language of flexibility’. Previously, the worker was viewed as someone who had a mutually beneficial, long-term relationship with an employer.
Emerging non-standard employment is clearly a different preposition: This involves jobs that are not permanent and fulltime; work conducted in irregular workplaces or sites; and jobs, which do not involve a clear or direct employer.
The vulnerable nature of these job contexts induces recourse to complex and diverse sources of livelihood, constituting significant challenge when it comes to organizing, collective action and accessing rights for those workers involved in these precarious employment situations. This tends to complicate the work of trade unions, given that their traditional
business models are not so adept to these developments.
This paper argues that it is not a lost battle for trade unions, union power and collective action. What is required is a new strategy that is based on innovative organization, utilization of opportunity structures and
available power sources.

Keywords: Precarious Employment, Collective Action, Union Power.

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