Responding to Worker Displacement: A collection of case studies is intended as a companion reader to our earlier publication A Guide to worker displacement: Some tools for reducing the impact on workers, communities and enterprises.
The Guide was originally published in 2001, as a response to the financial crisis that gripped much of Asia in 1997 with severe impacts in terms of worker retrenchments and rising unemployment. Drawing on a wealth of experience, primarily in North America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Guide presents possible strategies for averting layoffs and promoting business retention including early warning stressing the importance of monitoring, and rapid response mechanisms such as retraining, to ensure worker adjustment and economic renewal.
In 2008, many countries throughout the world faced a new financial crisis with employment impacts that surpassed in severity the experience in the late 1990s. In an effort to assist policy-makers, employers and workers, and community leaders to consider alternatives to worker retrenchment and responses to mass lay-offs, the ILO’s Skills and Employability Department reissued the publication in early 2009. In response to requests for more practical examples of these strategies, the ILO has prepared Responding to Worker Displacement: A collection of case studies intended as a companion reader to the earlier publication.
The collection presents examples from Australia: Prioritizing community and personal well-being; China: Training responses to industrial closures; The Czech Republic: Retraining for new technology with hands-on experience; Egypt: The “labour pool” approach in the textile industry; Germany: Short-time work and continuity of employment; Mexico: Short-time work as a collaborative approach to worker displacement; The Netherlands: A suite of innovative approaches; and The United Kingdom: Collaborative best practice in engaging with displaced workers.
Each case study illustrates the principles for fair responses which have been set out in the Guide and collectively demonstrate the diversity of actions which have resulted from effective social dialogue and collaborative interaction in managing labour market adjustments under a variety of circumstances.