"Getting by" in time and space: fragmented work in local authorities
Economic Geography, 75, (2), .
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Manual work in British local authorities has been substantially restructured since the introduction of compulsory competitive tendering (CCT) in 1988. The central argument of this paper is that CCT has led to an increasing fragmentation of work, employment, and labor markets. Drawing primarily upon interviews with cleaning and catering employees in three case study councils, I demonstrate that labor forces are now highly diversified as wage and other divisions have emerged among groups of workers both between and within different local labor markets. The employment experiences of individual workers also have become fragmented. Not only is job tenure limited to the length of a contract, but also private contractors frequently seek to alter employees' terms and conditions of work during the life of the contract itself. Additionally, many cleaning and catering workers must now combine multiple part-time, frequently insecure jobs in an attempt to obtain a living wage. Extending the work of Mingione, the paper stresses the complexity of restructuring within what have been low-wage, low-status, and highly gender-segregated sectors of employment.
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