In the actual context of globalization, carmakers face a highly competitive market. The pace of technologicalinnovation, the increase in international competition, the saturation of markets and the shortening of product lifespan are butsome of the factors requiring a new organization of production. In order to face these radical changes, carmakers areimplementing new strategies, not only by embracing the concept of globalization, but also by promoting changes in labourmanagement practices, work organization and industrial relations. The aim of this paper is to analyse the impact of Fiat’snew managerial strategies in response to increased global competition on the situation of the industrial relations, on the roleof the Un-ions and on the condition of workers. These strategies include an intensification of work, shift and wage flexibility,plus a severe limitation of workers’ rights (including the right to strike). On the one hand, such a strategy was presented andjustified to the workers and the public as an objective necessity of global economy, and was even submitted to areferendum; on the other, the process was conducted unilaterally, under the recurring threat of transferring productionabroad if the workers and their Unions refused to accept the new method. This brought to a split of the Unions and dialoguewas maintained only with collaborative organisations, causing the discrimination of the other Unions and a situation of greatdissatisfaction amongst all the workers. Through the words of workers and Union activists, the research showed evidence ofthe failure of claims that new management strategy can ensure both productivity and a new form of workplace democracy inthe post-fordist factory. Despite new labour-saving technologies, lean production organisation and the adoption of newmetric systems (such as Ergo-UAS); car industry would need, more than in the past, the involvement and activeparticipation of Unions and workers. On the contrary, the paper points out how Fiat’s actual form of production organizationgenerates new tensions and increases employee’s discontent, likely to ignite industrial conflict.

Fiat Auto: Industrial Relations Lost in Globalisation

CAPUTO, Paolo;Campennì Antonino;Della Corte Elisabetta
2012

Abstract

In the actual context of globalization, carmakers face a highly competitive market. The pace of technologicalinnovation, the increase in international competition, the saturation of markets and the shortening of product lifespan are butsome of the factors requiring a new organization of production. In order to face these radical changes, carmakers areimplementing new strategies, not only by embracing the concept of globalization, but also by promoting changes in labourmanagement practices, work organization and industrial relations. The aim of this paper is to analyse the impact of Fiat’snew managerial strategies in response to increased global competition on the situation of the industrial relations, on the roleof the Un-ions and on the condition of workers. These strategies include an intensification of work, shift and wage flexibility,plus a severe limitation of workers’ rights (including the right to strike). On the one hand, such a strategy was presented andjustified to the workers and the public as an objective necessity of global economy, and was even submitted to areferendum; on the other, the process was conducted unilaterally, under the recurring threat of transferring productionabroad if the workers and their Unions refused to accept the new method. This brought to a split of the Unions and dialoguewas maintained only with collaborative organisations, causing the discrimination of the other Unions and a situation of greatdissatisfaction amongst all the workers. Through the words of workers and Union activists, the research showed evidence ofthe failure of claims that new management strategy can ensure both productivity and a new form of workplace democracy inthe post-fordist factory. Despite new labour-saving technologies, lean production organisation and the adoption of newmetric systems (such as Ergo-UAS); car industry would need, more than in the past, the involvement and activeparticipation of Unions and workers. On the contrary, the paper points out how Fiat’s actual form of production organizationgenerates new tensions and increases employee’s discontent, likely to ignite industrial conflict.
Industrial Relations,; Work Organization; Car Industry
Industrial Relation; Automotive; Globalization
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/143479
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