The Longest Day: 'Flexible' Contracts, Performance Related Pay and Risk Shifting in the UK Direct Selling Sector

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17 Citations (Scopus)


This article provides an account of the experience of highly casualized forms of work within the UK Direct Selling industry (double glazing, fitted kitchens etc.). The employment relationship in this industry has long been associated with no fixed hours of work, predominantly commission only earnings and 'fictitious' self-employment. As such, the experience of industry workers offers an insight into the potential consequences of deregulated employment over the longer term, providing evidence of the power imbalances, economic uncertainty work/life imbalance and the impediments to non-work based relationships this entails. The article is based on an ethnographic study and focuses on the issues of 'high' and 'low' road flexibility, and the implications for the wider labour market of the extension of flexible employment practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-127
Number of pages18
JournalWork, Employment & Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • deregulation
  • direct selling
  • flexibility
  • risk-shifting
  • workplace cultures
  • WORK
  • JOB

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