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How do workers experience the transformations of work? How do they adapt, under the pressure of unemployment, to organizational constraints? The Hygiene, Safety and Work Conditions Committees are a precious source of information that makes it possible to analyze these issues concretely. Very close to the reality of the shop floor, these institutions provide an arena where the diverging viewpoints of different actors about work conditions and organizational modes are expressed.
During the 1995-2005 period, in the Peugeot-Sochaux coachworks, the delegates of the workers paid full attention to the technical transformations of the workshop layout, the organizational mode, or the work process that raise concerns among the workers. The majority of older workers and their delegates fought on all fronts as they sought to slow down the work pace, influence the organizational setup, but also shift the heaviest burdens onto their younger co-workers, often assimilated with interim stand-ins. This situation explains the workers’ concern to tackle jointly organizational questions and the wider time-frame of professional trajectories.
It would be a mistake to generalize this relative capacity for unionized reaction and to extend it to the whole labour market. Elsewhere, around the PSA corporation for instance or even within it (as a result of the legal outsourcing of some activities), other firms impose much more brutal industrial relations.


    Nicolas Hatzfeld
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