9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN17 Industrial Relations, Labour Market Institutions and Employment

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Industrial Relations in the Public Sector Building AA, Auditório Silva Leal

Protection and flexi-security: an inquiry on the modernization of Spanish employment public services

The last decades have witnessed a growing individualization of employment relations in most of Europe, influenced by the hegemonic neo-liberal policies, the effects of the globalization of the markets and the restructuring of the economies towards a service-oriented model. This has led to the erosion of certain collective rights -traditionally associated to a regulated industrial relations- and the rise of new moral representations of a ?good worker?, the ?flexible worker?, who must be ready to adapt him/herself to the ever changing conditions of the markets.
Nevertheless, competitiveness and flexibility have also implied new inequalities among the labour force. The EU policies have been aware of the problem of uncertainty and security and have tried to deal with it while remaining unquestioned the free market principles. During the last decade flexi-security has appeared as the cornerstone to deal with the problems of vulnerability and social exclusion. In order to preserve the adaptation to the taken for granted need to change and the capacity to re-define competences and skills of the different employees, the regulatory frames of the labour markets have undertaken a deep political and axiological transformation.
This has been shaped as the modernization of the employment services in order to enhance a more individual focussed approach with regard to the citizen/client and in which the new forms of new public management, partnership or contractualization have played a key role. The public powers have emphasized the need for an empowerment of individual worker whose security would be organized around the notion of activation. Activation means that the worker must take the responsibility of his own employability, with the help of a huge diversity of tools from the employment services and agencies.
While since the seventies Spain has been one of the most affected countries by the general trend of de-regulation of industrial relations, few studies have been made on the flexi-security measures applied in the last fifteen years. This paper ?based on an ongoing research project- will explore these new models of governance in the Spanish context focusing on how flexi-security has been translated and developed by the public employment agencies.