Work intensification and workers' health: a case study in Mercedes Benz of Brazil, São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo, Brazil

José Augusto Pina Eduardo Navarro Stotz About the authors

In contemporary society, work intensification has been increasingly representing a malaise that manifests itself in workers' health problems. As a theme studied by Public Health/Workers' Health, the object "work intensification and health" can be investigated in the specific practices of exploitation and expropriation of workers' technical and social knowledge that tend to confront their collective capacity, as the weakening of the collective dimension triggers multiple manifestations of suffering and penibility at work. This study analyses work intensification and health based on the perception of workers from Mercedes Benz of Brazil, in the city of São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo. We conducted seven visits to the factory and twenty-nine interviews: twenty-two with direct workers and seven with union representatives. The results and discussion are presented in three categories: work pace; longer working periods; management by stress. The study contributes to the understanding of work intensification and health and, at the same time, indicates the limits and possibilities imposed on workers' collective action in the current historical conditions.

Work Intensification and Health; Workers' Health; Workers' Collective Action; Management by Stress; Penibility at Work


Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo. Associação Paulista de Saúde Pública. Av. dr. Arnaldo, 715, Prédio da Biblioteca, 2º andar sala 2, 01246-904 São Paulo - SP - Brasil, Tel./Fax: +55 11 3061-7880 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil
E-mail: saudesoc@usp.br