The resistible rise of the temporary employment industry in France
journal contributionposted on 06.02.2017, 14:46 by Paul A. Brook, Christina Purcell
This article is an historical account of the contested growth of the temporary employment agency sector in France. It utilises a variegated capitalism conceptual framework to explain the evolution of a distinctive temporary employment agency sector and regulatory environment under French politicoinstitutional conditions that was contingent upon global developments. The article charts the role of large agencies in constructing a market for agency labour despite wide scale cultural, political and trade union opposition. In order to build legitimacy, agencies sought partners in the labour movement from the late 1960s onwards. By the late 1990s, the sector had grown significantly within a gradually more permissive regulatory framework despite ongoing but fragmenting opposition. The article demonstrates that the growth of agency labour was not an inevitable outcome of global pressure for labour market deregulation. It also reveals how national regulatory institutions alone are not a sufficient bulwark against global labour market pressures.