Tackling precarious work in public supply chains: A comparison of local government procurement policies in Denmark, Germany and the UK

Karen Jaehrling, Mathew Johnson, Trine Pernille Larsen, Bjarke Refslund, Damian Grimshaw

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Abstract

Through a cross-national comparative study of local government “best practice cases” of socially responsible procurement in Denmark, Germany and the UK, this article critically examines the role of labour clauses in addressing issues of low wages and precarious work in public supply chains. It provides new insights on the negotiations and outcomes of labour clauses across different stages of the policy process, including implementation and monitoring. The analysis demonstrates the importance of pragmatic alliances of progressive local politicians, unions, and employers in ensuring that socially responsible procurement moves beyond rhetoric, along with supportive national and sectoral employment regimes. Labour clauses can compensate for weak systems of labour market regulation by setting higher standards for outsourced workers, while they play a complementary role in more regulated labour markets by levelling up wages and working conditions to prevailing collectively agreed standards.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Volume32
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)546– 563
Number of pages18
ISSN0950-0170
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

Keywords

  • precarious work
  • public services
  • public procurement
  • public outsourcing
  • labour clause

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