From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishlabourlabour1 British English, labor American English ●●○ S3 W3 AWL noun 1 work [uncountable]WORK/DO WORK work, especially physical work The garage charges £30 an hour for labour. Many women do hard manual labour (=work with their hands). Workers withdrew their labour (=protested by stopping work) for twenty-four hours. → hard labour2 workers [uncountable]WORKER all the people who work for a company or in a country a shortage of skilled labor We need to reduce our labour costs.3 baby [singular, uncountable]BABY/HAVE A BABY the process of giving birth to a babyin labour Meg was in labour for ten hours. Diane went into labour at 2 o'clock.a long/short/difficult labour The labour pains were unbearable.labour ward/room (=a room in a hospital where women give birth)4 → a labour of love5 → somebody’s laboursCOLLOCATIONS – Meaning 2: all the people who work for a company or in a countryADJECTIVES/NOUN + labourskilled/unskilled labourEmployers want to keep skilled labour because of the cost of training.cheap labour (=workers who have low wages)Women and children were used as cheap labour.casual labour (=workers who do jobs that are not permanent)The industry makes use of a large supply of casual labour.child labourThe shoe company was accused of using child labour in its factory.slave labourCotton was grown using slave labor.labour + NOUNthe labour force (=all the people who work in a country or for a company)We need an educated labour force.the labour supply (=all the people available to work)What was the effect of the war on the labour supply?the labour market (=the people looking for work and the jobs available)the percentage of women in the labour marketa labour shortageImmigrants came into the country to fill the labour shortage.labour costsThere was pressure to keep down labour costs.
Examples from the Corpuslabour• Our produce prices cannot compete with those of Spain, with its cheap labour and sunshine.• In practice, the conditions for perfectly competitive labour and product markets do not apply.• Overaccumulation meant there was insufficient labour to keep old plants going, so they had to be scrapped.• One of the horses had gone into labour while the farmer was away.• Large-scale growth in this type of farming is limited by the climate and the high cost of labour.• Deskilling is symptomatic of the way in which a worker's labour is taken possession of by the capitalist.• His Milton and Dante fetch pathetically small sums in comparison with the labour and skill they cost.• The labour force is growing at a rate of 4% a year.• Many women do all the work in the home, and their labour is unpaid.• Marx defined the working class as people who sell their labour to employers.withdrew ... labour• The disparity arises because some of those who lost their jobs withdrew from the labour market, perhaps through early retirement.labour ward/room• Who got fathers into the labour wards?• They took me down to the labour room.• I arrived at the hospital and was shown to the labour room.• The labour ward provides user-friendly notes for pregnant women, arising out of discussions with patients.