Workers’ Rights and Freedoms
Freedom of association, workers’ participation and expertise, health and safety, management models... What if workers and their central role were properly recognised?
In contrast to the public rhetoric about the "value of hard work", workers are increasingly treated as outsiders in their own companies. They are considered as an external, disposable production factor, a source of costs that needs to be reduced or exploited to the maximum, without regard for safety and physical or mental health. The expertise of workers on industrial processes and on the running of their company is neglected, and their right to organise through unions and to defend their interests is seen as a relic of the past.
Of course, the situation is generally worse for workers of large French companies abroad, especially in repressive or poorly regulated countries. And even worse for the thousands of workers in the supply chains of multinationals, from large agricultural plantations to garment or electronics factories in Bangladesh or China. Without going so far as to dream of ’corporations without workers’, like some French economic leaders or like today’s digital platforms, most CAC40 companies have been engaged in a steady reduction and/or delocalisation of their workforce for decades.
In France, recent reforms of labour law have further reduced workers’ rights. Strengthening democracy within companies will not be achieved simply by giving employees a seat on boards of directors or by increasing profit-sharing, which are above all a way of reinforcing the alignment of corporations with the profit imperatives of financial markets.