Norwegian version

The Impact of Temporary Work Agencies on the Politics of Work

The Impact of Temporary Work Agencies on the Politics of Work is a research project funded by the Research Council of Norway under the Welfare, Working Life and Migration programme.

Globalisation of the economy in general, and of the politics of work in particular, constitute major challenges to the Norwegian welfare society.

In this project we analyse this aspect of globalisation by analysing the significance of temporary work agencies (TWAs) in the Norwegian labour market and in labour migration.

The activities of TWAs raise concerns regarding national and transnational regulation, cross-border business relations and migration of TWA workers. TWA growth in Norway and the increase in migrant labour power in this sector arguably signal structural implications for the politics of work.

New political strategies on the part of unions are called for when sectoral organisation and full-time permanent employment are challenged by TWAs, fuelled by flexibility strategies of companies.

The Nordic model, a triangle bringing together state, employers’ associations and unions in an orderly social dialogue is increasingly being challenged by economic actors occupying intermediary and ambiguous positions in this political map.

In order to grasp the global character of the mechanisms involved, the project entails a comparative component. Furthermore, since TWAs are transnational actors, we will undertake an in-depth study of the recruitment of workers to Norway, focusing on Latvian and Swedish workers.

So far, research conducted on TWAs has been carried out solely by social scientists, and has not included appropriate methods for analysing changes over time, and we have thus included a PhD in history in order to shed light on the responses of unions and employers’ associations as an expression of, and in light of, historical, social, cultural and economic changes in the post-war period.

The research design is qualitative. The project is designed with four independent but mutually informative components:

  • Project participants

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  • Publications

    • Organizational commitment among agency workers and permanent employees in client organization workplaces. Underthun, Anders; Olofsdotter, Gunilla; Zampoukos, Kristina. 2015, Work 2015. OSLOMET. Vitenskapelig foredrag.
    • Vikarbyrådirektivet: liberalisering eller likebehandling? ( Bergene, Ann Cecilie; Ewing, Keith D.. 2015, Søkelys på arbeidslivet. KCLUOL, OSLOMET.
    • Underthun, Anders; Aasland, Aadne (2018). Motivation, Migration and Non-standard Employment: A Survey Among Temporary Agency Workers. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies. Vol. 8. 
    • Bergene, A. C., & Ewing, K. D. (2015). Vikarbyrådirektivet: liberalisering eller likebehandling? Søkelys på arbeidslivet, 31 (01-02).
    • Bergene, A.C. (2016) Trollet som sprakk eller et møte med den trojanske hest? – Svar til Torstein Nesheim og Birthe Eriksen: Vikarbyrådirektivet: Trollet som sprakk. Søkelys på arbeidslivet, 32 (01-02) 
    • Jordhus-Lier, D., Coe, N. M., & Bråten, S. T. (2015). Contested growth: The Development of Norway's Temporary Staffing Industry. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, 97 (1), 113-130. doi: 10.1111/geob.12068
    • Kiil, M. B., & Knutsen, H. M. (2016). Agency by exit: Swedish nurses and the Not below 24,000 movement. Geoforum, 70, 105-114.
    • Žabko, O. (2015). Darbiekārtošanās pakalpojumu sniedzēji kā aģenti migrācijai uz Norvēģiju. Socioloģija, 808 18-31.