L'auteur étudie la stratégie élaborée par le syndicat pour obtenir une amélioration des conditions de travail des travailleurs.
The purpose of the present article is to examine the strategy developed by unions to obtain improved working conditions for labour. The analysis is based on the relationship between the pressure tactics of a local union and the characteristics of work organization in a company. It pursues a double objective: first, to show that a union increases its demands at this level to gain advantages in areas traditionally excluded from the field of negotiations through the elaboration of demands legitimized by general consensus in industrial relations; and secondly to show that union action in a company is closely linked to the particularities of work organization in its various departments.
Instead of putting the accent on demands according to their relations with a certain member of explanatory factors, analysis here consists of examining the significance of a particular type of demand in relation to other themes evoked, plus one explanatory factor: works organization.
Union Action and Works Organization
More and more unions digress from their established policy of protecting employees against the negative effects of work organization. They will attempt, in future, to obtain direct control over work organization. In today's industrial relations system, this sort of control is not considered negotiable. As a result, certain unions will adopt the strategy of acting indirectly on work organization by formulating demands in terms generally admitted in industrial relations practice. Demands elaborated may, thus, correspond to a double objective and pursue interest both institutional and non-institutional in negotiation.
Analysis of Local Union Strategy
Initially union demands are classified in three categories: individual, semi-collective and collective. With this classification, the author reveals how basic principes of work organization helps explain that the union seeks to improve work content of employees' jobs in certain departments by formulating a traditional demand: increasing the value of the coefficients of classification. By means of this demand, the union seeks to improve the position of employees in relation to the salary scale, but also seeks to obtain modification of works content for some. This strategy is possible because of the fundamental principle establishing a link between coefficients of classification and content of specific tasks. Take, for example, the maintenance department. Repair tasks are classified according to both time and difficulty and are affected by various coefficients.
Thus, the most complex tasks are affected by coefficients situated at the top of the scale, intermediate tasks by intermediate coefficients, and the easiest tasks by lesser coefficients. Employees are given the coefficient of the classification corresponding to the degree of difficulty of the tasks completed. Therefore, the employee who is continually assigned by his foreman to tasks of intermediate difficulty will be given an intermediate coefficient. The union, then, advances a number of individual demands in the department in question relative to increasing the value of coefficients. In the face of pressure tactics by employees in support of union demands, management often has a tendency to accept the union position. Such concessions, nevertheless, have consequences for the employee concerned through both salary in-crease and improvement in works content of his job. In fact, in order to respect the basic principle of works organization, management required the foreman to reestablish the correspondance between the level of difficulty of tasks and the coefficient by assigning him tasks equivalent to his new coefficient. The union, consequently, obtains satisfaction of its demands in a non-institutionalized area of what is negotiable by making demands which are considered admissible.
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