Restructuring and public services

Across Europe the economic crisis has led to a variety of restructuring measures in the public services. Historically the Public Services have been regarded as exemplary employers with high levels of effective social dialogue, however, the our current research project explores the changing nature of social dialogue around the policies and measures aimed at managing and anticipating change and restructuring in the public sector.

1) How do high levels of union density affect the nature of restructuring in the public services?

• What is the role of employee representatives in social dialogue over restructuring?

• What are the limits to social dialogue over restructuring?

• To what extent are precarious categories of worker (agency, contract and temporary) included in process of social dialogue?

• What are the drivers for social dialogue over restructuring and how does this affect both the nature and outcomes of this social dialogue? We are particularly interested to discover to what extent employee health is a driver for social dialogue and what the implications of this are.

• How social dialogue can contribute to positive effects (for workers and employers) of restructuring.

• The implications of differing systems of social dialogue around restructuring including legislation, negotiation and consultation. This would include the enforceability of collective agreements developed through social dialogue.

• The tension and contradictions the social partners have to face in times of restructuring.

• The implications of the fragmentation of social dialogue.

• How social dialogue addresses social conflicts.

• The role of service users, citizens and consumers in social dialogue around restructuring.

 

2) What issues arise from internal redeployment of public sector workers?

• How are jobs and employability maintained in internal labour markets during restructuring through formal and informal mechanisms?

• To what extent are precarious categories of worker (agency, contract and temporary) and vulnerable categories of workers (women, migrants, youth, older, minorities, disabled etc.) included or excluded from processes of internal redeployment?

• How do the processes of internal redeployment reinforce or undermine the psychological contracts between public sector workers and the State.

• What are the positive effects of internal redeployment?

• What are the key health and safety issues in internal redeployment, how are they addressed and by whom?

• What is the role of social dialogue and employee representatives in redeployment?

 

3) In relation to crisis induced restructuring have the public sectors across Europe continued to be exemplary employers?

• How have doctrines of New Public Management impacted on the nature of restructuring in the public sector and the psychological contracts between public sector workers and the State?

• What are the key motives or policies (for example the crisis, fashion, efficiency, ideological commitment to the reduction of public sector) that drive public sector restructuring and how do these different drivers impact on the forms and outcomes of restructuring?

• To what extent has the crisis affected the nature of restructuring in the public sector and to what extent can current practices and policies be regarded as a continuation of pre-crisis ones?

• To what extent are restructuring measures in the public sector seen as externally and or politically driven and how has this affected their legitimacy?

• Has public sector restructuring treated vulnerable and precarious workers in an exemplary manner?

• In an increasingly commercially driven public sector to what extent are the interests of service users or consumers driving the restructuring of the public sector?

• How is the fragmentation of public service provision affecting the nature of restructuring?
Other issues are not excluded if particularly relevant when related to the public services, restructuring, renewals and social dialogue.


► The paper on “Public Sector Adjustments in Europe – Scope, Effects and Policy Issues” shows that urgent pressure to reduce public expenditure tends to favour quantitative adjustments, mainly cuts in expenditure, jobs and wages in the public sector.


Documents

ico1 ► Restructuring in public services : crisis, social dialogue and Renewals – policy paper 2, english version.
ico1 ► Les restructurations dans les services publics : crise, dialogue social et projet européen Renewals – policy paper 2, version française.
ico1 ► Restructuring in Public Services : general considerations, job transitions and social dialogue workshop cahier 1, english version.
ico1 ► Les restructurations dans les services publics : crise, dialogue social et innovations – workshop cahier 1, version française.