Public services throughout Europe have undergone dramatic restructuring processes in recent years in connection with liberalization and privatization. While evaluations of the successes of public services have focused on prices and efficiency, much less attention has been paid to the impacts of liberalization and privatization on employment, labor relations, and working conditions. This book addresses this gap by illustrating the ways in which liberalization has contributed to increasing private and foreign ownership of public services, the decentralization of labor relations has amplified pressure on wages, and decreasing employment numbers and increasing workloads have improved productivity partly at the cost of service quality.
Examining diverse public-service sectors including network industries, public transportation, and hospitals, and using international case studies, Privatization of Public Services covers a wide range of aspects of service provision, with particular emphasis on companies and workers. The result is a unique picture of the changes created by the liberalization processes in Europe.