congresos y reuniones científicas
Workers and trade-union strategies to confront the effects and impacts of outsourcing in Argentina after the 2001 crisis
Conferencia; 4th Conference of the Regulating for Decent Work Network, OIT; 2015
This paper will analyze some of the processes led by workers and unions during the last decade in Argentina, in order to confront the impacts and consequences of outsourcing in various economic activities. First, the paper will briefly characterize this period in economic and social terms, paying special attention to the main transformations of the labor market, and showing that although there were crucial changes (chiefly the significant reduction of the unemployment rate), other labor processes, such as the process of outsourcing, expanded. Second, the paper will briefly analyze the effects of outsourcing in terms of labor relations, wages, working hours, conditions, equipment, access to basic labor benefits and health services, as well as in terms of workers´ identities, labor organization and struggle. Third and most importantly, this paper will specifically analyze the strategies developed by workers to confront outsourcing in various economic activities, including the industrial sector (particularly steel and textile industry), the service sector (cases of transport, telephone, bank and call center workers), as well as state employees. Based on testimonies by workers and unionists, union documents and press sources, and benefitting from the participation of researchers, lawyers and workers, a working seminar series coordinated by CELS (Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales) and the Area of Economics and Technology at FLACSO Argentina (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales) was a tremendously useful workspace that allowed to identify and study some of the most important experiences and strategies promoted by workers and unions. The analysis of the various responses to this process shows a strikingly different role on the part of trade unions (and also of the State and the employers). In some cases, such as the Buenos Aires subway workers or the federation of oil industry workers, unions headed and promoted an active process of organization against outsourcing, and in some of these cases they were quite successful. In other cases, workers had to organize not only against the strong pressure of employers, but also against the opposition and resistance of their unions, that supported outsourcing and in many cases directly benefitted from it. This analysis will contribute to a study of the possible role of unions and the labor strategies to confront the profound changes in labor relations that took place in the last decades.