Print version ISSN 1517-4522
RAMALHO, José Ricardo. Flexibility and the industrial employment crisis - unions, regions and new business actions. Sociologias [online]. 2010, vol.12, n.25, pp. 252-284. ISSN 1517-4522. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-45222010000300010.
Flexibility is a key word that summarizes the changes that resulted from the restructuring of the industry in the recent decades. The decrease in industrial employment, as well as its social and economic consequences, is the focus of the social criticism directed at projects based on the flexible pattern, which require more and more actions from the part of the companies to justify and legitimize this new facet of the production process. The AutoVision project of the multinational automobile manufacturer Volkswagen - implemented in two regions: Wolfsburg, in Germany, and the ABC Region in the state of São Paulo, Brazil - presents the characteristics of a social intervention that comes with a more elaborate discourse of justification. The hypothesis to be tested is that the latest initiatives of globalized companies based on flexibility point to a political pre-eminence in the formulation of proposals intended to mitigate the effects of the decrease in industrial employment, and to the construction of a rhetoric that endorses flexible employment. Theoretically, this case allows the discussion of different social arrangements based on flexibility, which are created by multinational companies, and the ways these companies justify their actions.
Keywords : Flexibility; Productive restructuring; Global companies; Labor relations.