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There are an increasing number of studies devoted to an examination of New Labour's social policies. However, thus far there has been little in the way of substantive discussion of opposition to and conflict around key elements of New Labour's agenda for the welfare state and public sector, from those who are involved in the frontline implementation and delivery of welfare policies. Since the mid to late 1990s, there have been continual and recurring episodes of industrial action of various kinds involving social workers, teachers, lecturers, nurses, hospital ancillary staff, nursery nurses, home helps and local authority librarians among others. Welfare delivery has become a central point of industrial relations disputes in the UK today. This book provides the first critically informed discussion of work and workers in the UK welfare sector under New Labour. It examines the changing nature of work and explores the context of industrial relations across the welfare industry. While the main focus is on the workforce in state welfare, this is set within the context of recent and current shifts in the mixed economy of welfare between state, private and third sector organisations.
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Gerry Mooney, The Open University (Scotland) and Alex Law, Sociology Division, University of Abertay DundeeReview:
This timely collection illuminates a very important aspect of the New Labour regime - its tough and often hostile approach to workers within the welfare state. This has received scant attention from social scientists, but this book provides an expert and critical survey across a wide range of the salient issues with an appropriate emphasis on workers' resistance. Norman Ginsburg, London Metropolitan University
What happened to those workers in the public sector when New Labour came into office? This book tells us, systematically, on the basis of sound empirical research and across the public sector as a whole. Essential reading, not just for academics, but for trade unionists and anyone interested in both the reality described and in doing something about it. David Byrne, University of Durham
This is an important book. It reports the impact of pro-business policies on those who struggle on a daily basis to provide vital services in the midst of cuts, low pay and privatisation. But it also shows that those policies can be resisted. It deserves to be read by everyone who wants to know what the so-called 'reform' of public services is really about. Mark Serwotka, General Secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union
... the great strength of all the contributions is the way they weave theory with practice. ... Order this book for your trade union branch and local library - it's a must for activists in the welfare sector. Socialist Review, November 2008
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