McGurk, John Patrick
The deregulation of airline employment in the USA and Europe: an emerging comparison.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This thesis seeks to examine the deregulation of airline employment within Europe, by relating that change to the US experience. A historical/political economy approach is adopted which locates the process of deregulation with a context of changing product market conditions, bargaining power and regulatory influence. The regulated regime where labour conditions were protected is contrasted with one in which labour has come under pressure to concede premium terms and conditions. Analysis of labour costs and productivity assume that these terms and conditions will simply evaporate under the pressure of competition and privatisation. The thesis provides evidence that this may not be the case. It is argued that failure to examine employee concerns and perceptions underestimates employee responses, and overestimates the power of airline management, given the considerable bargaining power of key labour groups. Airline workers, especially those in large and successful, formerly state owned carriers, have expectations of wages and conditions based upon the regulated era. This regulatory overhang is examined in a detailed questionnaire of British Airways as a major European carrier, previously state owned, but not privatised. A number of models of labour market deregulation and case studies are introduced to analyse the nature and extent of these deep seated changes and their implications for labour, management and the state.
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