All precarious? Institutional change and turning points in labour market trajectories in Spain: Insights from narrative biographies
2018-01-23T15:46:22Z (GMT) by
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of changes in employment regulation in Spain on individual labour market trajectories. It is well known that the Spanish labour market has been strongly hit by the 2007 recession. Furthermore, after 2010 and in the benchmark of “austerity”, several reforms were implemented to further flexibilise employment regulation. At the same time, public sector budgets suffered severe cutbacks, that impacted working conditions and prospects of public sector workers. These reforms were implemented by different governments and substantially changed previous existing patterns of employment. This paper explains how these reforms have reinforced previous existing trends towards greater flexibility and weaker employment protection and how they lead to a shift in the position of work in society. Design/methodology/approach: The emerging patterns that these changes provoked are illustrated thorough data from narrative biographies of workers affected by a job loss or a downgrading of working conditions. The workers of the sample had relatively stable positions and careers and were affected by changes that substantially modified their paths. Findings: The paper shows how reforms have expanded work and employment insecurities and have broken career paths. It demonstrates how the reforms have weakened the position of work and organised labour in society and how, when institutional supports are jeopardised, the capacity to plan and act is harassed by the traditional social inequalities. Originality/value: The paper enhances the knowledge about the impact of institutional changes by analysing their effects in individual working lives by means of narrative biographies.