Political and Social Writings: 1955-60 - From the Workers' by Cornelius Castoriadis, David Ames Curtis

By Cornelius Castoriadis, David Ames Curtis

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Extra resources for Political and Social Writings: 1955-60 - From the Workers' Struggle Against Bureaucracy to Revolution in the Age of Modern Capitalism v. 2

Sample text

18, contained a series of analyses about WORKERS CONFRONT THE BUREAUCRACY 0 25 the 1955 strikes in France (in particular those that occurred in Nantes and Saint-Nazaire). [TIE: The first of these articles, "Wildcat Strikes in the American Automobile Industry," appears in this vol­ ume in translation. ] 3 Automation Strikes in England A year and a half ago, the precarious balance on which British capitalism has rested since the war was again threatened with being upset. Prices were rising, imports were increasing, and exports, under the growing pressure of interna­ tional - and in particular German and Japanese- competition, were stagnating.

Increased production to be reflected in higher earnings . . Employers were warned that unless they take account of these demands, they could expect all-out resistance. The unanimously adopted motion declared: We are not opposed to the introduction of new technological advances, but insist that full consultation with the workers should take place at shop-floor level prior to their introduction. We are determined to safeguard the workers involved and to fight for a higher standard of living as a result of automation, full consultation, no redundancy, workers to receive full wages pending satisfactory settlement of the problems in the plant, a shorter work week, and three weeks' annual holiday.

In Standard's case, it seems that production will increase more than 40 percent while personnel will be re­ duced on the order of 50 percent. That is equivalent to an increase in labor pro­ ductivity of more than 1 80 percent and signifies that the past level of production now can be attained with a third of the manpower previously employed. Obviously, this does not mean that total unemployment will increase exactly in proportion to the number of workers laid off. On the one hand, employment ought to increase in the factories that make this new equipment, that maintain it, replace it at the end of its productive life, etc .

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