Part Two: Non-standard Workers in Comparative Perspective: Good practices of Social Dialogue and Collective Bargaining

Non-standard work is an increasing global phenomenon as more workers are excluded from traditional full-time, permanent wage and benefit employment with legal and social protections.  ILO Labour Law Officer Minawa Ebisui wrote a 2012 working paper titled “Non-standard workers: Good practices of social dialogue and collective bargaining.” The paper was also published in the E-Journal of International and Comparative Labour Studies, Volume 1, No. 3-4 October-December 2012.  In the paper, Ebisui draws from national studies and secondary materials to examine non-standard work, collective bargaining and social dialogue offering diverse examples of efforts to improve the representation and working conditions of workers who are outside of traditional employment relationships.

Non-traditional work poses great challenges to traditional union representation and collective bargaining and social dialogue.  The paper first sets out definitions of non-standard work, collective bargaining and social dialogue using ILO definitions and then identifies the obstacles that non-standard work creates for effective representation and bargaining.  Not surprisingly obstacles include the temporary, unstable and often indirect relationship that workers have with their employers and fears that workers have about asserting rights. 

The paper then gives examples of innovative approaches to bargaining and social dialogue along with specific country specific cases such as collective bargaining outside of the workplace, multi-employer collective bargaining and extension of collective bargaining agreements.  In addition to the approaches to collective bargaining, the paper also identifies a variety of bargaining strategies relevant to non-standard work such as efforts to curtail and transition temporary employment into permanent employment, use of non-discrimination regulations to assert demands for equal pay and working conditions for work of equal value and strategies to address specific working conditions issues of concern to workers in non-standard employment.   Country examples included in the paper are:  Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Argentina, India, the U.S., Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, South Africa, France, Australia, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, the United Kingdom and Germany. 

Ebisui, M. (2012) Non-standard workers: Good practices of social dialogue and collective bargaining, International Labour Organization, Industrial and Employment Relations  Department, Geneva: International Labour Office, available at: