Trade unions responses to Industry 4.0: from corporatism to old and new dualistic tendencies

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2020)


The aim of this paper is to shed light on the paths, directions, and degrees of ad-
option/resistance put in place by trade unions within a few firms belonging to the so
called “Italian Motor-Valley”, a distinctive technological district of the Italian manu-
facturing sector located in the outskirts of Bologna (Emilia Romagna) and specialised
in the engineering/automotive industry. We conclude that I4.0 represents a new space
of action for the role of trade unions in influencing firms’ technological adoption de-
cisions. However, this new field of action can have an ambiguous result depending
on how the process will be governed. On the one hand, trade unions’ involvement in
the adoption decision of I4.0 technologies might end up fostering corporatist tenden-
cies, favouring the alignment between workers’ and managers’ interests. On the other
hand, such a major involvement can help both recompose old forms of dualism and
revitalising the workers’ role in the crucial issue of work organization.

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