Linda Clarke on the labour process in the production of built environment – Westminster University, 24 November

23rd Nov 2017

Building capitalism

Historical change and the labour process in the production of built environment

Linda Clarke, Westminster University


Drawing on examples from the construction sector, divergences in the post-war development of

labour differences – in particular between Britain and (West) Germany – in the nature of wage relations

in the post-war era, in the division of labour and in the vocational education and training (VET)

systems will be outlined. This reveals divergent values accorded to labour and distinct institutional

support structures and means of reproducing labour. It is shown how in Britain, since the 1970s, the

progressive development of building labour stalled with continued adherence to traditional trade divisions,

reassertion of managerial prerogative and the decline in direct employment, collective

bargaining and training.

Today, however, in all countries the labour process and VET are in a process of rapid change,

marked by employer disengagement from training, a transformation in employer-employee relations,

and new demands for energy efficiency, digitalisation and prefabrication. A stark contrast is evident

between a labour process where labour is exploited as a commodity and one which builds on the

potential capacity or power of labour.




Linda Clarke is Professor of European Industrial Relations in the Westminster Business School (WBS) and responsible for

a distinct programme of research in the Centre for the Study of the Production of the Built Environment (ProBE). She is on the

Board of the European Centre for Construction Labour Research (CLR), and also a Trustee for London Hazards Centre (LHC).



Friday, 24 November 2017

6:30pm – 8:30pm



Meeting Room 3,

Finsbury Park Trust FinSpace

225-229 Seven Sisters Rd,

Finsbury Park, London,

N4 2DA