How Vulnerable is it up North?

Ian Fitzgerald, John Stirling, Ian Manborde

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    In this paper we will argue that a precise definition of the imprecise term ‘vulnerability’ is an important starting point for developing positive policies for trade unions in working with and representing those workers. We will suggest that there are four particular problems in defining vulnerability. Firstly it may be defined in a way that effectively vulnerability appears as a personal characteristic. Secondly, it may be done in a way that omits the notion of ‘choice’ leaving workers who would not regard themselves as vulnerable to appear in the same category as those who clearly are. Thirdly, imprecise definitions cloud the role of employers in creating vulnerability as a deliberate strategy. Finally there is a tendency to omit or underplay the key feature of vulnerability and that is the nature of the relationship of the worker to the labour market and, therefore, their ability to work and earn income. In this sense, the general use of ‘precarious’ rather than vulnerable in much of the European discussion provides a more pointed focus.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010
    EventBUIRA 60th Anniversary Conference - Manchester
    Duration: 1 Jul 2010 → …


    ConferenceBUIRA 60th Anniversary Conference
    Period1/07/10 → …


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