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university of tampere: institute for advanced social research: fellows: 2003-2004:
Institute for Advanced Social ResearchUniversity of TampereInstitute for Advanced Social Research


Antti Saloniemi, Ph.D
Utacas fellow 2003-2004

Most of my research activities have considered the questions of the modern working life. In the past few years the increased insecurity at work and in the labour markets have been the connective theme in my articles. In the other words, the problems of unemployment and fixed-term employment have been in the focus.The most current project takes an other look to the changing working life. My aim is to study the conceptual transitions in the discussion on labour protection and occupational health and safety issues in Finland during the past two decades More specifically, its focus lies on the logic of how economy based arguments are used in labour protection. The lens through which I am going to observe the changes is the profound transformation in the role which the market-based language ­ again ­ got into the LP discourse during the 1980s.

In contrast to regulative and protective logic of the 1970s, labour protection was given a new role: it was "sold" especially to employers as one tool to increase productivity. With slight exaggeration it is possible to claim that LP has disappeared from the Finnish working life discourse during the last decades, as a diverse body of developing activities has covered the area. These development activities differ from maintaining and improving work ability to the organisational developing programmes. The themes previously dealt with under the label labour protection are now just one strand in this bigger picture. The general feature of all these activities is the confidence in that employers and employees have common interests.At least on the face if, both parties of the labour market have accepted the market logic as a main discourse of the labour protection issues in mutual understanding. This fact should not even evoke scientific interest if the vantage point is constrained to limit only to Finland. The change is easy to locate in the continuum of Finnish labour protection and labour market policy in general. However, similar transformations in many Western societies have been a topic for bitter conflicts in the labour market relations. The main challenge of this study is not to provide evidence of the colonisation of the market parole in LP in the Finnish circumstances as well. The key point of interest gets a slightly different form: why has this transformation in the LP issues occurred in Finland without any remarkable conflicts between the parties in the labour market? The other question, subordinate to the above, will be: is the consensus between the parties so intact and inviolable as is officially indicated in public or does a closer analysis reveal some lines of disagreement.


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