This collection of chapters on new forms and expressions of conflict at work came about as a result of an intermittent series of thoughts about, reflections upon and responses to reports in the popular and specialist media and discussions during teaching transnational employment relations. Continually, it seemed – if only on an anecdotal and sporadic basis – that forms of conflict about work and employment in and around the workplace were recurring and re–occurring. Yet at the same time, and most obviously with regard to the strike and its apparently declining usage, it also seemed paradoxically that workers in the developed economies of the global north were not engaging in the kind of innovations in (other) forms of tactics and weapons of collective conflict expression that might have been expected given the decline in strikes. The most obvious sectors this pertained to were those of private services where emotional and aesthetic labour have become paramount and, more generally, where the use of information technology is now central to the production, distribution and exchange of goods, services and information. The importance of emotional and aesthetic labour may be regarded as having provided a new foundation upon which worker resistance could rest – such as the smile strike. Similarly, the centrality of information technology may be considered as provided a basis for the acting out of cyber–wars against employers, if not a return to oldfashioned forms of sabotage.
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