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Bargaining strategies to combat precarious work

24 June, 2014IndustriALL is launching a new publication to promote the use of collective bargaining strategies as essential tools in the fight against precarious work

The continuing expansion of precarious work is one of the biggest threats that unions face, not only to workers’ job security, pay and working conditions but to their capacity to organise workers to fight collectively for their rights. The fight against precarious work is one of IndustriALL’s key strategic goals.

IndustriALL’s new publication, ‘Negotiating Security’: Trade union bargaining strategies against precarious work’, provides concrete examples of collective bargaining strategies developed by affiliates to confront precarious work and fight back against its expansion. Collective bargaining plays a crucial role in limiting precarious work and improving conditions for precarious workers.

Throughout the world precarious work is flourishing in countries where the legal framework is inadequate both for defining clear limits on precarious work, and for protecting the rights and working conditions of precarious workers. While many affiliates are pursuing legal reforms to address these gaps, collective bargaining is enabling targeted and enforceable responses to be developed.

IndustriALL affiliates have amassed a wealth of experience in using collective agreements to limit precarious work, to convert precarious work to regular employment, and to improve precarious workers’ working conditions and protect their rights. Many examples taken from actual agreements can be found in ‘Negotiating Security’.

Precarious workers who are employed through third party agencies and labour contractors face particular challenges because of the triangular employment relationship that is created. IndustriALL has previously exposed how this particular form of precarious work undermines worker rights in its publication ‘The Triangular Trap: unions take action against agency labour’. Now ‘Negotiating Security’ gives examples of how collective bargaining strategies can be used to overcome the obstacles to protecting the rights of workers in triangular employment relationships.

Jyrki Raina said, ‘We hope that through these examples, unions will be inspired by the work of others and will find ways to adapt the strategies to the challenges they face. The examples you will find in this publication are only a sample of the many, many creative and progressive agreements unions are pursuing to protect workers. More examples can be found on our website and new ones are being added all the time.’