Travail et Emploi, 2015 Special Edition

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Fighting to Leave or to Stay ?
Migrant Workers, Redundancy and Assisted Return Programs During the Talbot Dispute, 1983-1984

Vincent Gay

In the late nineteen seventies and early eighties, the restructuring of the French automobile industry caused a significant reduction in the number of unskilled jobs. When the Board of directors of the Talbot factory in Poissy near Paris announced its redundancy plan in 1983, a one-month strike was launched to defend the work site and oppose the dismissals. But as the demands remained unanswered, some of the unskilled migrant workers, the first to be threatened by the redundancies, called for financial assistance to return to their home countries. Arising in the middle of the conflict, the new demand forced the strikers to reconsider their positions. Though union activists were uncomfortable with the demand, which they viewed as a renunciation to fight for employment, they ended up accepting it. As to the French government, it saw it as an opportunity, creating a new system to encourage migrant workers to go back to their countries of origin.

Keywords : France, immigration, migrant workers, automobile industry, industrial restructurings, redundan-cies, trade unionism, labor disputes, strike, Talbot, State, reinsertion assistance program, immigration policies

JEL : J52, L62, J6, M51, G34

The Interrelationship of Collective Bargaining at Industry and Company-Levels in Wage Determination

Nicolas Castel, Noélie Delahaie, Héloïse Petit

The combined increase in firm or company-level and industry-level collective bargaining over recent decades in France has renewed the debate over the potential complementarity or the substitution effect between the two bargaining levels. In this article we study how the two bargaining levels are associated at the workplace level in France in the wage determination process. Our study is based on the REPONSE 2004-2005 survey –which provides information on the role given to industry-level bargaining and the current process of negotiations in the workplace– and on two case studies : one in the automotive sector, the other in call service centres. Three company profiles are defined. In the first two profiles, one of the two bargaining levels has greater emphasis than the other while the third profile is characterised by the weakness of negotiations, whatever the level. Whatever the profile, our analysis shows that the content of negotiations is different at each bargaining level –the company level being more focused on wage determination and the branch level on wage regulation. Besides these key levels of collective bargaining, we stress the growing influence in wage determination of individual performance interviews within the company, and of third parties such as the prime contractor or the parent company, outside the firm.
Keywords : collective bargaining at industry-level and at firm or company-level, wage, automotive sector, call centre

JEL : J30, J52

Randomised Experiments and the Evaluation of Innovative Placement Schemes for the Unemployed

Marc Ferracci, Florine Martin

Improving counselling and placement schemes for the unemployed is a key element of active labour-market policies. While a number of academic papers have focussed on jobseeker-centred schemes, we here evaluate new innovative methods that aim to improve caseworker efficiency. Two different treatments are evaluated via randomised experiments. The first provides caseworkers with help in the organization of their time, by allowing them to focus on a limited number of jobseekers. The second consists in increasing the human resources that are devoted to collecting job offers and matching them to jobseekers. The results show that both schemes raise the average exit rate out of unemployment, but that this positive effect is not systematic, as it varies with the individual characteristics of the unemployed. This raises the issue of the spillovers that are generated by such schemes.

Keywords : evaluation of employment policies, jobseeker counselling, caseworkers, randomised experiments, spillovers

JEL : J64, C93

Three Major Issues Concerning Randomised Social Experimentation in France

Bernard Gomel, Évelyne Serverin

In the 1960s, tools were developed in France to test laws before they were adopted. This form of assessment eventually acquired a constitutional basis with the Act of 28 March 2003 authorising normative experimentation, both nationally and locally. This innovation was the key to a specific form of experimentation, namely the randomised experiment. It borrows its methodology from social sciences, and its perimeter from international policies on poverty. This form of experimentation raises three issues, which are discussed in three successive sections. The first one is a matter of legal science : what role does this form of experimentation play within the scope of normative experiments ? The second question is a scientific one : what lessons does social experimentation bring to experimental science, applied to human behaviour ? The third issue is socio-political : what is its contribution to the evaluation of public policies ? The conclusion recalls the ethical and scientific requirements that are necessary in the conduct and evaluation of experiments on human behaviour.

Keywords : experiments, reform of the Constitution, public policies, ethics

JEL : C93, I38

The Effects of Gender Diversity Through the Lens of the Body and Sexuality.
Men in Greeting Work

Sophie Louey, Gabrielle Schütz

Men holding so-called “women’s” jobs have received little attention in academic studies of the effects of gender diversity on the sexual division of labour and careers. This article explores this issue based on studies of people in greeting work, emphasizing how the body and sexuality, which are particularly solicited by this activity, have an impact on gender relations. Two ethnographic studies in different greeting contexts (receptionists and special event hosting) show that gendered conceptions of the body participate in the establishment of a sexual division of tasks, which leads to greater freedom of action and less supervision for men in everyday work. “Flirting” at work has differential effects on greeters depending on their gender. It helps men preserve a traditional, heterosexual definition of virility, while allowing them to avoid the subordination and marginalisation resulting from their position in the division of labour and employment. At the same time, it keeps female greeters in occupational isolation. In conclusion, the study of greeters’ careers is used to evaluate the possible existence of a “glass escalator” for men.

Keywords : receptionists, event hosting, gender diversity, body, sexuality, flirting at work, sexual division of labour, careers

JEL : L84, M51

“You Hurt Yourself a Little Every Day.”
The Healthy Worker Effect Among Farriers

Olivier Crasset

This article addresses the health of self-employed people, which statistical data indicates to be superior to that of wage-earners, all things being equal. This relative advantage is interpreted here as the result of a selection process related to the healthy worker effect. This hypothesis is successfully tested on the particular case of farriers, using semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and data from a questionnaire survey of 356 farriers-in-training. Using a qualitative approach to give depth to the results of large surveys, the author identifies some social processes that amplify or attenuate the healthy worker effect. At each stage of the farriers’ career, selection by health takes different forms relating to professional ethos, the distribution of strain, lifestyle, and the ability to change careers. The healthy worker effect is nevertheless forestalled by the existence of an informal working group.

Keywords : healthy worker effect, trades, self-employment, wear and tear, farrier, professional career

JEL : J23, I10, J81, J24