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Delivering Flexibility: Contrasting Patterns in the French and the UK Food Processing Industry

Listed author(s):
  • Eve Caroli

    ()

    (EconomiX - UPOND - Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC))

  • Jérôme Gautié

    ()

    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Caroline Llyod

    (SKOPE - Cardiff University [Cardiff])

  • Annie Lamanthe

    ()

    (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Susan James

    (SKOPE - Cardiff University [Cardiff])

This article provides a comparative analysis of changes in numerical and functional labour flexibility in the French and the UK food processing industry. Based upon case study data, it explores the interaction between competitive pressures and institutional and regulatory structures and their impact on workplace practices. The findings indicate that, faced with a similar competitive environment, firms in both countries have sought to increase labour flexibility. However, the predominant forms of flexibility vary across the two countries, partly reflecting the characteristics of national labour market institutions. Numerical flexibility dominates in the UK, with high levels of paid overtime and temporary agency work. In contrast, French workplaces rely more on internal functional flexibility while also achieving numerical flexibility through seasonal variations in work schedules and a wide range of short-term employment contracts.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) with number halshs-00502241.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
Publication status: Published in British Journal of Industrial Relations, Wiley, 2010, 48 (2), pp.284-309. <10.1111/j.1467-8543.2010.00792.x>
Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00502241
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8543.2010.00792.x
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00502241
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

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