chapter  17
16 Pages

Respect for people – The dawn of a new era or mere rhetoric?: An historical analysis of labour relations in construction


Keywords: Workers, contracting, unions, markets, improvement and respect for people.

the built environment in terms of the buildings in which people carry out their day-to-day activities. Advanced societies need an elaborate infrastructure that allows travel, and provides continuous power and clean water. All of this must be created using construction, which itself needs an intention by a provider to secure funding and procurement of those with appropriate and sufficient skills and expertise. In small-scale works, these will be individuals with particular trades. Larger-scale work, though, usually means employing a contractor: an organisation capable of employing individuals or firms known as subcontractors. This chapter explores the way that the contracting system evolved and how it has been used to organise construction work and, in particular, to regulate the pay and conditions of workers.