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Title: Union responses to subcontracted workers : a comparative study of the English and Korean health sectors
Author: Lee, Jeong-Hee
ISNI:       0000 0004 5349 6521
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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The research presented in this thesis is a study of union responses to subcontracted labour in England and Korea. Subcontracting leads to separation of employers, and places existing union structures and resources, and traditional collective bargaining systems under strain. A study of union representation in relation to subcontracted workers is important because it can address how unions deal with more complex employment relationships. This also helps explore which factors contribute to patterns of union responses. This research conducted a comparative study of eight branches of the largest unions in the English and Korean health sectors with different institutional settings. This employed qualitative case studies using fifty-three semi-structured interviews, observation, and document analysis. Evidence showed that typical responses between the two varied, but there were also two outlying cases in Korea, showing similar responses to those in England. Differences in the institutional contexts of the source of restructuring, legal regulations, collective bargaining systems and union structures explained why English union branches adopted more inclusive strategies toward subcontracted workers than those in Korea. However, empirical evidence showed that union responses were also influenced by some non-institutional factors such as branch leadership, the attitude of the represented and effective working with allies in the community. Despite the importance of institutions in shaping union responses, they are not sufficient alone to explain variations in union responses and it is necessary to consider an integrated approach considering both institutional and non-institutional factors in a single analytical framework. This study contributes to the field of comparative industrial relations research in three ways. First, it extends the scope of research on union responses to contingent workers by investigating responses to subcontracted workers. Second, it goes beyond classifying union responses by presenting their underlying dynamics. Third, it challenges existing ways of conducting comparative industrial relations studies predicated upon the staple proposition that ‘institutions matter’, highlighting the importance of an integrated approach.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor