004. Volume 2 No 2


The New Gold Rush: the New Multinationals and the Commodification of Public Sector Work

Over the past few years a new breed of multinationals has arrived, almost unnoticed, on the scene. Like early capitalist adventurers, they have found a rich new source of wealth to exploit. But this seam of gold is to be found, not in the mountains of California or the depths of Africa but at the very heart of the welfare states of the developed world. This important collection of essays anatomises the emergence of the ‘public services industry’ and analyses the way in which government services have been commodified so that they can be privatised or outsourced. It charts the growth of the global companies that have sprung up to supply these services and documents the devastating impact on workers, including work intensification, casualisation, loss of union protection and erosion of occupational identities. It also explores the changing relationship between the state and the private sector and the implications for democracy of developments which transform citizens into shoppers.

The new gold rush: the new multinationals and the commodification of public sector work
By Ursula Huws
Commodifying health care: the UK’s National Health Service and the Independent Sector Treatment Centre Programme

By Stewart Player and Colin Leys
The new public service transnationals: consequences for labour
By Judith Clifton and Daniel Díaz-Fuentes
Commodification, casualisation and intensification of work in liberalised European postal markets
By Christoph Hermann, Torsten Brandt and Thorsten Schulten
The politics of union-government relations: public transport in two Australian states
By Ruth Barton and Peter Fairbrother
Privatisation of public services in the EU: an attack on social cohesion and democracy
By Birgit Mahnkopf
The reformatting of state control in Vietnam
By Chris Dixon
Mopping up the labour shortage: privatisation of waste management and gendered work reorganisation in South Africa
By Melanie Samson
The impact of hospital privatisation on industrial relations and employees: the case of the Hamburg hospitals
By Nils Böhlke 
Reorganising the front line: the case of public call centre services
By Annika Schönauer
The end of the road, no more walking in dead men’s shoes: IT professionals’ experience of being outsourced to the private sector
By Simone Dahlmann
‘Everywhere is becoming the same’? labour utilisation and regulation in transnational IT production
By Nicole Mayer-Ahuja and Patrick Feuerstein