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Hazard or Hardship
: Jeffrey Hilgert
: Industrial safety—Law and legislation, Employee rights, Labor laws and legislation, law, Human Rights, Global Framework
: Cornell University Press, ILR Press
: 2013
Call Number
: ebook 291
Ringkasan :
Colonel Nicholson had again reassured his Japanese captors that the British soldiers under his command could construct their railroad bridge before the deadline. In the classic World War II fi lm Bridge on the River Kwai , the exacting commander touts the organizational effi ciency of his captive battalion, eventually beaming at the sight of the bridge as it nears completion. Hesitantly, near the end of the enormous construction project crafted entirely from jungle lumber, a young major approaches Nicholson and dissents, saying the soldiers—now Japanese prisoners of war—must be given permission to slow down or openly revolt, given the importance of the railroad bridge to enemy supply lines. Nicholson immediately snaps, indignant at the thought of any insubordination. Glancing at the massive structure he thunders in all his sweaty servitude, “We are prisoners of war! We haven’t the right to refuse work!” Even in the absence of barbed wire and the pointed rifl e of a prison camp, millions of workers around the world are averse to raising one’s voice at work, let alone using open resistance such as refusing unsafe work.The prospect of meaningful improvement of working conditions seems so unlikely that the common suggestion for action is “Find another job!” rather than challenging management, asking questions, raising concerns, or stopping work. On the surface, “fi nd another job!” may be a wise choice, if a person can fi nd other employment. From a global policy viewpoint, however, there are fundamental drawbacks to this defeatist path of action. Whether in economics textbooks or neighborhood cafes, people often erroneously see work as unfolding in a simple labor market where buyers and sellers exchange human labor and work for a price. Each government, however, constructs, shapes, and institutionalizes systems of labor and employment. Societies defi ne different boundaries for rights at work and determine how workers can struggle to achieve social justice. Decisions of this nature encompass a variety of constitutions of the right of employees to dissent and struggle to improve their working environment. These issues relate closely to the protection of the freedom of association and collective bargaining. Occupational health and safety laws also defi ne these boundaries. Each of these labor rights institutions shapes work and employment, making “labor markets” more a function of deliberately organized laws, habits and practices rather than the free-for-all open exchange that a “market” metaphor implies.

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