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Osgoode Hall Law Journal

Document Type

Article

Abstract

The breakdown in the links of mass production and mass consumption poses problems throughout the advanced industrial world. In each nation-state the ensuing struggles will take different forms. In postwar Canada, the link between mass consumption and mass production did not lead to the same kind of trade union participation in decision-making as it did in much of Europe. Workers were unable to establish embedded rights of worker participation. What was known as the fordist model in Europe did not have deep roots in Canada. Canadian workers are now being attacked by employers whose bargaining powers were never seriously blunted, aided by a state which has never had to accord even a junior partnership role to organized labour. The arrival of the new technologies is not likely to lead to more enriching work or better pay conditions for much of the workforce given the logic of the imperatives of an export-led growth economy in which state planning takes the form of encouraging private ordering. This paper concludes by looking at some ways by which Canadian workers may be able to resist the downward pressure on wages and working conditions created by employers seeking to take advantage of their newfound power.

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