Globalists V Sceptics

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To set the parameters of this essay it is essential to understand the term ‘Globalization’. ‘Globalization’ is characterized by the intensification and entanglement of transnational trade flows, migration, finance and culture. It is linked to the increasing rates at which transport and communications allow for the spread and diffusion of ideas, goods, people, capital and information. Finally it accounts for the deepening impact that local events can have on a global scale (Held & McGrew, 2003, p. 1).

The debate centres over whether the effects of globalization have played a significant role in constraining the ability of ‘national actors’ to influence the employment relations policies in a controlled and measured way on a national scale. ‘National actors’ refers to the three main bodies which have traditionally influenced employment relations and work policies: Capital (business, employers); the State (employment legislature, government departments and the judiciary of the Republic of Ireland) and Labour (employees, trade unions).

Traditionally it has been the role of the government, trade unions and employers to negotiate work policies and debate national employment relations. ‘Globalists’ argue that the dawn of globalization has led to a diminished role for these national actors in deciding national work practices, being replaced instead by multinational corporations and the effects of decisions by more powerful international forces such as the G7 (Hirst & Thompson, 2003, p. 342).

‘Globalists’ argue the diminishing role of the trade union in Ireland (62% membership in 1980 to 31% in 2007) is as a result of both the increasing multinational sector which has imported an American style of labour relations to Ireland and the drastic change in the balance of power between capital and labour caused by a shift in location of production, this has allowed for the adoption of a new strategy for labour control. Through the vast improvements in communication...
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