Production networks in many sectors have become increasingly fragmented. Cutting labour costs by lowering pay, increasing work intensity and/or shifting flexibility costs to workers are just some of the motivations for outsourcing. But it can also be used to circumvent employee representation and collective bargaining systems within companies, and labour market regulations in general. Though such intentions may not drive the bulk of outsourcing decisions, any change in company boundaries is likely to impact employment, working conditions and industrial relations in the value chain.

This book focuses on the dynamics of outsourcing in Europe from the perspective of employees. In particular, it considers one insufficiently studied aspect: the impact of outsourcing on working conditions and employment relations in companies. The book also collects lessons learned from the efforts of employees and trade unions to shape outsourcing decisions, processes and their impact on employment and working conditions.

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Table of contents

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Chapter 1: Stefan Kirchner: Who performs outsourcing? A cross-national comparison of companies in the EU-28

Chapter 2: Luca Giustiniano, Lucia Marchegiani, Enzo Peruffo and Luca Pirolo: Business outcomes of outsourcing: lessons from management research

Chapter 3: Carina Altreiter, Theresa Fibich and Jörg Flecker: Capital and labour on the move: the dynamics of double transnational mobility

Chapter 4: Monique Ramioul and Geert Van Hootegem: Relocation, restructuring of the labour process and job quality

Chapter 5: Virginia Doellgast and Elisa Pannini: The impact of outsourcing on job quality for call centre workers in the telecommunications and call centre subcontractor industries

Chapter 6: Anna Mori: Outsourcing public services: local government in Italy, England and Denmark

Chapter 7: Nathan Lillie and Ines Wagner: Subcontracting, insecurity and posted workers: evidence from construction, meat processing, and ship building

Chapter 8: Virginia Doellgast, Katja Sarmiento-Mirwaldt and Chiara Benassi: Union campaigns to organize across production networks in the European telecommunications industry: lessons from the UK, Italy, Sweden and Poland

Chapter 9: Bettina Haidinger: Organizing peripheral workers in parcel delivery

Chapter 10: Sonila Danaj and Markku Sippola: Organizing posted workers in the construction sector

Chapter 11: Chiara Benassi: From concession bargaining to broad workplace solidarity: the IG Metall response to agency work

Part 4: Addressing the outsourcing challenge: statements from practitioners in trade unions

Introduction Jan Drahokoupil: The outsourcing challenge

Chapter 12: Nadja Doerflinger and Valeria Pulignano: Outsourcing and collective bargaining in the recent crisis: implications for employment in multinationals