Valuing labour

Clarke, Linda (2006) Valuing labour. Building Research and Information, 34 (3). pp. 246-256. ISSN 0961-3218


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The British construction labour process rests on casual, self-employment, output-based pay, rigid trade divisions, low levels of training and a sharp divide between operative and professional/technical skills. Skill shortages beset the industry and their solution focuses not on employment regulation and a comprehensive industry-wide training scheme but on importing the necessary skilled labour. The paper shows how qualitatively differently construction labour is valued in Britain compared with other leading European countries. These rely on higher skill levels, based on knowledge gained through the training process and on a more stable and collectively negotiated structure of training provision and employment. In Britain, in contrast, labour is not valued according to the knowledge it incorporate but according to an individual's ability to fulfil the task in hand, Training is geared to meeting individual employers' immediate needs, qualifications are not a prerequisite for entry, and labour is rewarded for its product not for its potential. The paper pinpoints the key features if the British system that give rise to concern and concludes by outlining the ways in which the British system needs to change for any sustainable development of the construction process.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Online ISSN 1466-4321
Subjects: University of Westminster > Westminster Business School
Depositing User: Miss Nina Watts
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2006
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2011 12:08

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