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.
Gerry Mooney is Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Staff Tutor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at The Open University. With Gill Scott he is co-editor of Exploring Social Policy in the 'New' Scotland, Policy Press 2005. He has also written widely on issues of class, the sociology of the city and social policy in the context of devolution. Alex Law is a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Abertay Dundee. He has published in the areas of national identity, workplace restructuring, class, urban sociology, mass communications, and social theory.