A View of Labor Ministries in Other Nations

By Weisz, Morris | Monthly Labor Review, July 1988 | Go to article overview

A View of Labor Ministries in Other Nations


Weisz, Morris, Monthly Labor Review


Differing political and economic climates have shaped a variety of agencies to deal with labor issues in industrial, developing, and Communist countries The U.S. Department of Labor, now marking its 75th anniversary, has counterparts in more than 150 countries. But the scope and nature of these labor ministries differ substantially from those of the U.S. agency that was established in 1913. This article looks at labor agencies in various economic and political settings and compares them with the U.S. Labor Department.

What labor ministries do

As used here, the term "labor ministry" refers to the agencies of government (only infrequently called "departments") which deal with the bundle of functions related most directly to the interests of workers as producers.

In most industrial countries, as in the United States, one of the earliest manifestations of government involvement has been in the area of labor statistics, both because governments see the need to monitor events that are the basis for determining policies and because reformers who act on behalf of the disadvantaged demand factfinding from government.

Another labor issue of prime interest to government is employment, including job planning, estimating labor supply and demand, alleviating unemployment and underemployment, assisting employers and workers to adapt to fluctuations in job requirements through appropriate apprenticeship, training, migration, and relocation policies, and helping disadvantaged groups such as minorities and the physically handicapped.

Governments also are drawn into the labor standards area, where they formulate and enforce conditions of pay and working hours, regulate child labor, and enforce standards in such areas as occupational safety and health and workers' compensation, It is in this area that the responsibility most frequently requires inspection and investigation.

Although the extent of social insurance programs varies greatly, most governments either enact laws or at least oversee practices governing old age insurance, unemployment benefits, preventive medicine, and health insurance.

Finally, industrial relations must come to the attention of governments, at least to the extent of ensuring the degree of industrial peace needed for the smooth operation of the economy. Depending on general political and economic conditions, and on the power of labor and employer groups, governments may reach beyond mediation and conciliation functions. Except for Great Britain and the United States, most countries also regulate the actual outcome of collective bargaining. The scope of legislation in recent years frequently included encouraging and assisting labor-management cooperation programs.'

To carry out these functions, most governments go beyond their immediate staffs and consult advisory groups and experts from industry and academia, as well as other technical specialists. And, when controversial questions arise, governments frequently call on tripartite agencies to make the decisions. The decisions are carefully monitored by interest groups, which-when dissatisfied-sometimes seek to return to governments the decisionmaking authority granted to the tripartite agencies.

Political and economic environment

Labor ministries are instruments of government, and are created in response to pressures on governments. In the United States, a history of effort by social reformers and trade unionists led to the establishment, first of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and then the Department o Labor. From its very beginning, the Labor Department's functions, although quite limited, were protective o working people.

Political, economic, and social conditions differed sharply in other countries which had more limits on voting rights, greater poverty, a more rigid class structure, and lacked an open frontier. The trade unions and their associated labor and Socialist parties were relatively more powerful in Europe and often battled for total political power, rather than simply the creation of a "ministry.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A View of Labor Ministries in Other Nations
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.