Public Sector Network Tender Alert


CR18103 How has the UK warehousing sector been affected by the fissuring of the worker-employer relationship in the last 10 years?

The Director's first full labour market enforcement strategy highlighted the profound changes that have taken place in the UK labour market in the last four decades, including the decline in both trade union membership and collective bargaining coverage, and labour's share of national income. Also there has been a fissuring of the employment relationship between the worker and the employer (Weil 2008). This relationship is now increasingly complex where employers have contracted out, franchised, subcontracted and devolved many functions that were once done in-house. Weil (2010, 2014) provided evidence of the degree of fissuring in selected industries in the US, how the nature of fissuring varied by industry, and the direct and indirect impacts it may have on levels of compliance with labour (and health and safety) laws. To support work on their second labour market employment strategy, the Director's Office are now looking to commission similar research into three specific sectors in the UK labour market: hotels; restaurants and food services; and warehousing and logistics. These will be commissioned in separate, tenders. Tenderers are welcome to bid for one or more of these projects. The Director's office will facilitate some coordination between the contractors for each of the tenders to allow for a degree of consistency in approach. This tender focuses on the UK warehousing and distribution sector (SIC 52, with a proposed focus on SIC 52.100 and/or 52.219 - e.g. picking and packing in distribution centres, rather than delivery services). Synopsis: The scoping study will comprise two broad tasks: • A review of the existing evidence on the landscape of the UK warehousing sector, including: the growth of employment in these sectors; the nature of the employment relationship between employer and worker (e.g. direct employment versus use of outsourcing, franchising, supply chain models, etc.); and the scale of nature of reported non-compliance. • Qualitative research of workers in the UK warehousing sector: interviewing workers in the sector, focused on a selection of businesses in one/two locations to provide a picture of the nature of the fissured workplace, seeking to understand a) worker awareness of employment rights; and b) their own experiences of the degree of compliance with labour laws in this sector. Research questions: The primary research question for this scoping exercise is as follows: How has the UK warehousing sector been affected by the fissuring of the worker-employer relationship in the last 10 years?


Karl Oakley
Polaris House
01793 867005

Contract value: 40000-40000

Published: 25 Jul 2018, Receipt by: 13 Aug 2018