Technology-Induced Atypical Workforms

01-05-1999

This report is concerned with the relationship between emerging patterns of “atypical” work and the increasingly pervasive information and communication technologies (ICTs). By atypical work we means forms of work which appear to be increasing in response to the new ways in which societies are organising economic production, but which as yet still affect only a minority of Europe’s workers. The report considers several forms of atypical work, using the organising concepts of work time, employment contracts, work location, and, job detachment. It provides a number of concrete examples some of these practices are linked to the growth of ICTs. The report suggests that technology is only one of the drivers leading towards new work patterns. Others include globalisation, increased competition, feminisation of the workforce, change in consumer attitudes and lifestyles. Within this context ICTs facilitate change, but they do not predetermine outcomes. The report draws a number of sources to suggest that new forms of work are, indeed, becoming more important. For example, most new employment in the European Union in the 1990s was part-time and/or temporary and this trend accelerated in the second half of the decade. The report presents five key findings. First, work forms are likely to become increasingly diverse over the next few years and a “core-periphery” workforce may be emerging. Second, existing labour regulations will become increasingly ineffective for combining worker protection and economic efficiency if current trends towards diversity continue. Third, in these circumstances, new mechanisms will be required to ensure that slulls are portable, and that they can be upgraded on a continuous basis. This cannot be left to the individual worker alone, and a range of ‘stakeholders’ will need to accept responsibility for this process. Fourth, the “welfare state” (here we also include private sector providers of loans, insurance health etc.) will

This report is concerned with the relationship between emerging patterns of “atypical” work and the increasingly pervasive information and communication technologies (ICTs). By atypical work we means forms of work which appear to be increasing in response to the new ways in which societies are organising economic production, but which as yet still affect only a minority of Europe’s workers. The report considers several forms of atypical work, using the organising concepts of work time, employment contracts, work location, and, job detachment. It provides a number of concrete examples some of these practices are linked to the growth of ICTs. The report suggests that technology is only one of the drivers leading towards new work patterns. Others include globalisation, increased competition, feminisation of the workforce, change in consumer attitudes and lifestyles. Within this context ICTs facilitate change, but they do not predetermine outcomes. The report draws a number of sources to suggest that new forms of work are, indeed, becoming more important. For example, most new employment in the European Union in the 1990s was part-time and/or temporary and this trend accelerated in the second half of the decade. The report presents five key findings. First, work forms are likely to become increasingly diverse over the next few years and a “core-periphery” workforce may be emerging. Second, existing labour regulations will become increasingly ineffective for combining worker protection and economic efficiency if current trends towards diversity continue. Third, in these circumstances, new mechanisms will be required to ensure that slulls are portable, and that they can be upgraded on a continuous basis. This cannot be left to the individual worker alone, and a range of ‘stakeholders’ will need to accept responsibility for this process. Fourth, the “welfare state” (here we also include private sector providers of loans, insurance health etc.) will

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Gerard Valenduc (Fondation Travail, University of Namur, Belgium) in association with Andrew Gillespie (Curds, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK)