This article investigates labour law and industrial relations implications of the energy transition from fossil-fuels to renewable energy sources. It discusses how and why different energy paradigms and their political economies have affected labour and industrial relations institutions over time. It is argued that sustainability of working conditions depends largely on organised labour’s access to, and control over, the natural, energy resources on which workers’ livelihoods depend. Drawing on a novel literature that considers energy sources as a core analytical referent, the following trajectories are presented and discussed. While the possibility of labour control over the mining and distribution of coal has favoured the development of democratic institutions and welfare state in Western jurisdictions and in recently developed economies in the so-called Global South, ‘petro-capitalism’ and the political economy of nuclear energy have contributed to the dismantling of internal labour markets and to the crisis of classical labour law and industrial relations institutions. In contrast to oil and nuclear power, renewable energy sources could favour the transition from an extractive economic model to one that is generative and participatory: by democratising the political and economic power of energy, renewables might be able to better serve human welfare, labour and the environment. Technological progress will be a decisive factor in facilitating the democratisation of the energy system. No less important are the institutional, political and legal variables which will be needed in the process of concluding the energy transition and building the society that future generations of workers and citizens deserve.

Energy Transition: A Labour Law Retrospective / P. Tomassetti. - In: INDUSTRIAL LAW JOURNAL. - ISSN 0305-9332. - (2022), pp. 1-34. [Epub ahead of print] [10.1093/indlaw/dwac008]

Energy Transition: A Labour Law Retrospective

P. Tomassetti
2022

Abstract

This article investigates labour law and industrial relations implications of the energy transition from fossil-fuels to renewable energy sources. It discusses how and why different energy paradigms and their political economies have affected labour and industrial relations institutions over time. It is argued that sustainability of working conditions depends largely on organised labour’s access to, and control over, the natural, energy resources on which workers’ livelihoods depend. Drawing on a novel literature that considers energy sources as a core analytical referent, the following trajectories are presented and discussed. While the possibility of labour control over the mining and distribution of coal has favoured the development of democratic institutions and welfare state in Western jurisdictions and in recently developed economies in the so-called Global South, ‘petro-capitalism’ and the political economy of nuclear energy have contributed to the dismantling of internal labour markets and to the crisis of classical labour law and industrial relations institutions. In contrast to oil and nuclear power, renewable energy sources could favour the transition from an extractive economic model to one that is generative and participatory: by democratising the political and economic power of energy, renewables might be able to better serve human welfare, labour and the environment. Technological progress will be a decisive factor in facilitating the democratisation of the energy system. No less important are the institutional, political and legal variables which will be needed in the process of concluding the energy transition and building the society that future generations of workers and citizens deserve.
energy transition; just transition; labour law; collective bargaining; trade unions
Settore IUS/07 - Diritto del Lavoro
5-apr-2022
https://academic.oup.com/ilj/advance-article/doi/10.1093/indlaw/dwac008/6563670?guestAccessKey=a8818aba-4045-4170-92e0-3a238be1eba3
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/947913
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