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The Blyton and Turnbull 2004 examination of the British firefighters strike 2002-3 provides evidence of the legal exchange system that operates between employees and the employers known as the employment relationship This relationship is created and maintained through complex pressures which result in the specific action of an employer and employee reaching a working agreementDufty and Fells 1989 p15 Whilst there are several factors which shape the employment relationship this essay will focus on the three factors outlined in Dufty and Fells 1989 the economic dimension the legal dimension and the social dimension How these forces are evident in the firefighters case study will also be analysed The employment relationship is broadly defined as an economic social and political relationship in which employees provide manual and mental labour in exchange for reward allotted by employers Gospel and Palmer 1993 p3 as cited in Rose 2004 p6 Central to this legal relationship is the issue of power between a super employer and subordinate employee Rose 2004 p6 The employment relationship itself is made up of several interrelated and interdependent forces which are the stem of the conflict between the two parties of the employment relationship Dufty and Fells 1989 p2 In theory the most dominant force in the employment relationship is the economic factor Firms have to make a profit otherwise they will not survive Therefore they must use their limited resources in the most cost efficient manner using economic rationality Goodman 1984 p6 All firms and subsequently employees are at the mercy of the market forces of demand and supply Supply of labour will be determined in the long run by trade offs between present income and training investment in human capital and in the short run by the workers choice between income and leisure Whitfield 1987 pp18-20 Demand for labour will be influenced by the final product value cost of labour efficiency of management and use of technology Dufty and Fells 1989
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