Volkswagen labour relation and workers conflicts under de WCM “regime” in Cordoba-Argentina

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2013)


This contribution represents a first result of a field research, which has been conducted between December 2012 and March 2013, on labour relations and working conditions in the automotive industry in Cordoba (Argentina).
Cordoba is the second Argentine province in the production of cars, a strategic place within the Mercosur, with a history linked to the industrial metal-mechanic sector and a powerful development of workers autonomy movement during the ’60 – until the military dictatorship (‘76-83). Since the '90s the productive re-structuring, supported by menemist neoliberal government, changes the structure of the previous fordist line of production vs that expressed by the definitions of “just in time” and “lean production”, a combination of a specific form of globalisation, internal reorganization and the restructuring of the value chain. The big car factories based in Cordoba, particularly from the second half of the last century, Fiat, Renault, Volkswagen, Ford, take advantages from it, not only in terms of reduction of labour costs and social peace, but also regarding public incentives and fiscal benefits.
The aim of this contribution is the understanding of the specificity of labour relations in the cordobese automotive industry, starting with the Volkswagen case and looking at the recent conflict emerged in the German factory in South America, after a series of unjustified sackings in the firsts days of January 2013, in the light of the connections between the management of the relationships between workers, the role of the single union SMATA, and the position of national and provincial government.

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