Privatization of Public Services: Impacts for Employment, Working Conditions, and Service Quality in Europe, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Privatization of Public Services

Impacts for Employment, Working Conditions, and Service Quality in Europe, 1st Edition

Edited by Christoph Hermann, Jörg Flecker


214 pages | 40 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138959958
pub: 2015-09-03
Hardback: 9780415884938
pub: 2012-05-21
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Public services throughout Europe have undergone dramatic restructuring processes in recent years in connection with liberalization and privatization. While evaluations of the successes of public services have focused on prices and efficiency, much less attention has been paid to the impacts of liberalization and privatization on employment, labor relations, and working conditions. This book addresses this gap by illustrating the ways in which liberalization has contributed to increasing private and foreign ownership of public services, the decentralization of labor relations has amplified pressure on wages, and decreasing employment numbers and increasing workloads have improved productivity partly at the cost of service quality.

Examining diverse public-service sectors including network industries, public transportation, and hospitals, and using international case studies, Privatization of Public Services covers a wide range of aspects of service provision, with particular emphasis on companies and workers. The result is a unique picture of the changes created by the liberalization processes in Europe.


‘Governments everywhere and of nearly all political stripes are turning to privatization of public services and goods as a means to deal with the deficits and debts incurred in stemming the Great Financial Crisis. The wisdom and veracity for doing so is challenged by this important book.’ –Bryan Evans, Ryerson University, Canada

‘Privatisation of Public Services appears at an important moment in the development of public policy. It provides a comprehensive comparative analysis of privatization as it has been carried out across a variety of sectors and in a number of highly integrated economies. Using both primary and secondary data, the authors develop a comprehensive examination of privatization and its effects on constituencies that are all too frequently left out of the analysis. This book provides an insightful, myth-busting analysis of privatization that dispels many of the assumptions that have commonly been held about this controversial policy.’ –Bob Russell, Griffith University, Australia

‘This book is an outstanding analysis of the mode and consequences of privatization and liberalisation of public services in Europe. Its comprehensive comparison of both sectors and countries makes it useful for both the academic audience and practitioners.’ –Franz Traxler, Institut für Wirtschaftssoziologie, Austria

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Christoph Hermann and Jörg Flecker 2. The Process of Liberalisation, Privatisation and Marketisation Christoph Hermann and Koen Verhoest 3. Concentration and Disintegration: Company Responses in the Electricity Sector and Consequences for Employment Christoph Hermann and Richard Pond 4. Between Former Monopolists and New Competitors: Fragmentation and Deterioration of Employment Conditions in Postal Services Torsten Brandt and Christoph Hermann 5. Outsourcing, Competitive Tendering and Changing Working Conditions in Local Public Transport Jörg Flecker and Christer Thörnqvist 6. Hospitals under Growing Pressure from Marketisation and Privatisation Thorsten Schulten and Nils Böhlke 7. Company Responses to Liberalisation and Privatisation and Consequences for Employment and Working Conditions Jörg Flecker and Christoph Hermann 8. Privatisation and the Impact on Employment Wieslawa Kozek, Beata Radzka and Christoph Hermann 9. Privatisation and the Impact on Labour Relations Thorsten Schulten and Torsten Brandt 10. The Struggle for Public Services Christoph Hermann, Julia Kubisa and Thorsten Schulten 11. The Citizen-User Perspective: Results From a Cross-Country Survey Guy van Gyes and Sem Vandekerckhove 12. Conclusion: Impacts of Public Service Liberalisation and Privatisation Christoph Hermann and Jörg Flecker. Contributors. Notes. Index

About the Editors

Christoph Hermann is a senior researcher at FORBA, the Working Life Research Centre in Vienna and a lecturer at the Department of Government, University of Vienna.

Jörg Flecker is the scientific director of FORBA, the Working Life Research Centre in Vienna and an external professor of the University of Vienna (Faculty of Economics and Business Studies).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Employment and Work Relations in Context

The aim of the Employment and Work Relations in Context Series is to address questions relating to the evolving patterns and politics of work, employment, management and industrial relations. There is a concern to trace out the ways in which wider policy-making, especially by national governments and transnational corporations, impinges upon specific workplaces, occupations, labour markets, localities and regions. This invites attention to developments at an international level, marking out patterns of globalization, state policy and practices in the context of globalization and the impact of these processes on labour. A particular feature of the series is the consideration of forms of worker and citizen organization and mobilization. The studies address major analytical and policy issues through case study and comparative research.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Energy Industries
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Transportation
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Hospitality, Travel & Tourism