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Worker and Union responses to restructuring and privatisation in two Mexican enterprises: an intersectional analysis of class, gender and age

By Elvira Natalia Rocha Herrera


Economic restructuring in Mexico has had important consequences for the participation of workers and the nature and distribution of work. This phenomenon as a global tendency is posing many challenges to workers, though different sets of workers may experience these challenges differently. This study analyses workers’ experiences and responses to the process of privatisation in two Mexican companies, with particular reference to the role and influence of the union in each of these companies. The research is based upon in-depth interviews with young and old, men and women, managers, white-collar employees and workers, together with documentary sources, to provide both empirical descriptions and theoretical analyses of these contemporary developments in employment relations and worker organisation.\ud One strand of the thesis is a comparative analysis of the different relationships between government, management and union policies in the two cases, the first of the TELMEX Company and its union, the STRM, and the second of the LyFC Company and its union, the SME. For the state and management these cases involve two different deregulation models in Mexico. At the same time the telecommunication and the electrical unions have also followed divergent strategies, though they share similar socioeconomic origins.\ud The second strand of the thesis addresses significant differences within each case in the ways in which workers have experienced privatisation and related to the union. While each union has developed a distinctive dominant or hegemonic policy orientation, they each have heterogeneous memberships. Therefore, this research has sought to show how restructuring and privatisation have influenced the experience and participation of different categories of workers in relation on training, technology and labour conditions, by considering the roles of social class, gender and age relationships.\ud This research uses an intersectionality analysis to address commonalities and differences of experience among employees and union members and assess the varied interactions and complex connections between diverse systems of inequality at work. It seeks to show how power asymmetries cross and overlap in both unions and companies, and result in the recomposition of distinctive social class, occupation, gender and age relations over time. On this basis it seeks to contribute to an understanding of the implications of globalisation and economic restructuring for the unions and workers in Mexico which recognises the complexities of worker experience, the heterogeneities characterising union memberships and the dilemmas faced in different union strategies

Topics: HC, HD
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