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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Gender, flexibility and the public sector in British Columbia Reimer, Suzanne Mary


The thesis considers the use of flexible employment practices in the public sector in British Columbia. Despite attempts by successive Social Credit administrations to reduce the size of government, employment in the provincial public sector has increased since the mid 1970s. However, the number of full-time, unionised workers has declined since 1975. Increasingly, clerical positions in various Ministries have been filled by temporary agency workers, while other government jobs have been subcontracted. In an effort to move beyond the core/periphery and numerical/functional dualisms characteristic of much of the flexibility literature, I consider the gendering of particular types of flexibility, including temporary work and subcontracting. The focus upon changes in government employment practices is also an attempt to illuminate the role of flexible working in the public sector, which has been largely overlooked in debates surrounding flexibility. The thesis draws primarily upon interview data from two case studies: one of the British Columbia Buildings Corporation, and another of clerical workers in the Ministry of Social Services.

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