We cordially invite you to the next CELSI Frontiers Webinar, which will take place on December 16, 2022, 12.30-14.00 in a hybrid form (online on Zoom and at CELSI).
Published on Dec. 8, 2022
Olena Fedyuk (MSCA Fellow in" RightsLab", University of Padua) and Tibor T. Meszmann (CELSI)
will present their research and paper titled:
“Happy” Management, “Interested” Workers? Control, Consent, and Reproduction of Non-local Workers’ Labour Power in Hungarian Electronics and Automotive Industry.
Paul Stewart, Senior Research Professor, Professor to Department People, Organizations and Society, Grenoble ecole de Management
Marek Čanek, Expert of NGO SPOT (Centrum pro spolecenske otazky), Prague NGO Stop
The webinar will be held in English.
If you would like to join online, please fill in the registration form: bit.ly/3uzmIUk
Link to the meeting will be sent to you in time.
In Central Eastern European countries more temp agencies became prominent, powerful and indispensable actors in providing labour to user companies in electronics and automotive sectors, a role that even strengthened during the Covid-19 crisis. In explaining the success of temp sector and temp work in CEE, we go beyond a broader production/regulatory environment that provided a fertile ground to the rise of temp agencies, and a resulting (local) labour control regime. Understanding temp work as formal employment, we highlight the workers’ consent element, as a necessary condition for the rise of the sector. We concentrate on disentangling the exceptional success and function of temp agency work from the point of view of non-local temporary agency workers, especially coming from Serbia and Ukraine, employed in Hungarian electronics and automotive user companies. To understand how workers’ consent plays out in this employment regime, we develop a perspective from political economy and labour process theory. Our starting point is that agency work became a corridor of mobility for these very workers, operating with the promise of legal employment and high wages for those who are willing to sacrifice and “work hard.’ As such temp agencies became powerful actors that shape specific forms of individualised working subjectivities, and facilitate particular forms of social reproduction with short term benefits and long term vulnerabilities. Our analysis is based on 5 years of field research, interviews, field notes and discussions with temp agency workers in six newly industrialised regions in Hungary, dominated by large multinational user companies. Our paper argues that apart from providing mobility TWAs are especially effective in providing increasingly complex services with attractive short term benefits to contracted workers, and, through these very services, they are exercising control and social regulation beyond the workplaces. Our observations of control, (collective) conflict and (reproduction of) consent allowed us to understand how workers themselves contributed to entrenchment of the temp sector, even if they were contesting or went into a conflict with a specific temp agency employer.