Loughborough University
Thesis-1985-Wray.pdf (13.31 MB)

The demand for labour in a textile local labour market with particular reference to twilight workers and homeworkers

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posted on 2017-06-07, 15:08 authored by Kathleen Wray
The reasons why employers simultaneously demand different work groups with varying patterns of activity, conditions of service and earnings is inadequately understood. The demand for twilight workers and homeworkers is an under-researched area, while the appropriateness of the segmented labour market model is open to questioning. Therefore, a detailed comparison, from the viewpoint of demand, is made of the workforce groups discovered within an occupational local labour market. Data collected by employer interviews focus on worker characteristics, their different working conditions, and employer responses to change. Part A states the objectives and hypotheses, surveys the theoretical and legal contexts and reviews workgroup literature. The empirical programme is described, and brief accounts of preliminary empirical work undertaken in pre-pilot and pilot studies are reported. In Part B, organisational structures are outlined before an analysis of local labour market and workforce characteristics. An interplay is found between group characteristics and levels of supply, the latter being important to group formation and to employers' ability to exercise preference. Levels of knowledge are examined and options for mobility are assessed. The structure of the occupational local labour market is addressed by examining: firstly, the different forms of mobility; secondly, influences on the wage structure; and thirdly, the net advantages accruing to the various workgroups. Conclusions are drawn regarding the relevance of neo-classical and segmented labour market theories. It is found that segmentation exists, firstly between the male and female employees, and secondly within the female segment. This latter segmentation is brought under closer scrutiny to reveal homeworkers as an extreme example of secondary labour when pay and employment conditions are compared with those 6f full-time and part-time day workers. Preference is examined from three different standpoints; a costing analysis is undertaken to determine the importance of cost-minimisation to labour demand, and employers' stated and implied preferences judged by their actions on key conditions of service are examined for differential treatment. Employer perceptions are reviewed, as are the effects of orientations to work on performance levels which further illuminates employer preferences. The power structure emanating· from supply, collective bargaining and legislation is assessed. Part C, draws together the conclusions and uses findings to identify factors influencing employer choice. It outlines demand criteria and shows that those for twilight workers and homeworkers are similar, although reasons for using the latter group are more numerous. Many adjustment instruments are shown to be available for adapting labour input to business fluctuations so obviating the need for wage adjustment. An adjustment sequence is calculated to illustrate its implications for workgroup employment and income levels and its universal applicability is considered. A labour market paradigm is suggested in which demands and supplies are conceptualized as having two components; initial intentions and effective outcomes. It illustrates seven conflict areas which can incorporate numerous theories of labour market operation. The appropriateness of much labour market theory is discussed, and it is concluded that twilight workers and homeworkers are utilised as a mechanism for honouring implicit contracts. Policy prescriptions and further research are considered.



  • Business and Economics


  • Economics


© Kathleen Wray

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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