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Prof. Virginia Doellgast, ILR School, Cornell University
From dualization to solidarity: Collective action and precarious work
Abstract: Labour unions have long relied on traditions of solidarity to build and sustain strong social protections. The expansion of precarious jobs – short-term, unpredictable, and low paid – introduces new divisions in the workforce that weaken solidarity. As employers take advantage of growing options for escaping collective agreements and legislated minimum standards, unions struggle to organize workers across increasingly fissured workplaces. Under what conditions does collective action by unions and other worker organizations succeed in overcoming these challenges? Drawing on research in the US and Europe, I argue that unions are best able to contest the expansion of precarity where they build new inclusive forms of solidarity, based on bridging divisions across groups of workers and in the labour movement.
Prof. Florence Palpacuer, Université de Montpellier
Fragmented production and global solidarities: activist strategies, challenges and perspectives in global value chains
Abstract: Prompted by massive subcontracting and offshoring since the 1980s, Global Value Chains (GVCs) have become prominent forms of organization in today’s world economy. So have the global fragmentation and instability of production, and their correlate of deteriorating work conditions across workplaces offering highly unequal workers’ rights and protection.
In turn, such trends have triggered an ‘upscaling’ of previously local social struggles, whereby various activist groups from the North and the South have developed new forms of contestation and workplace militancy. Building on solidarities between places of production and marketing in GVCs, they have sought to establish a ‘chain of responsibility’ between lead firms operating at the market end, and workers involved at the production end of these chains.
What have been the key dynamics and outcomes of these GVC-based activist strategies? What are their prominent challenges and most promising perspectives? I will adopt a neo-Gramscian perspective to critically assess these questions, drawing on cumulated research at the intersection of the global value chains and transnational activist networks literatures.
Jörg Flecker, Myriam Gaitsch, Dominik Klaus, Saskja Schindler, Irene Rieder, University of Vienna
Johanna Hofbauer, Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Vienna)
Bettina Haidinger, Conny Prentner, Annika Schönauer, Working Life Research Centre (FORBA)
Ursula Holtgrewe, ZSI - Centre for Social innovation GmbH
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