Working conditions in the FCA,CNH and Magneti Marelli plants: a survey questionnaire

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2019)


Over the last few years the companies of the FCA, CNH and Magneti Marelli group have undergone profound changes both in the corporate structure (with the merger of Fiat and Chrysler into a new holding company) and in the organisation of their work, in the direction of a greater global standardisation of the processes pursued through the application of World Class Manufacturing (WCM), an integrated management model aimed at improving the efficiency of the Lean Manufacturing and Total Quality Management systems.
This paper presents the results of a national survey conducted using a standardised questionnaire distributed in 54 automotive plants of the FCA, CNH and Magneti Marelli group in Italy (about 10,000 respondents, with a final sample of 7,883 valid responses). The research was promoted by the “Italian Federation of Metalworkers” (FIOM-CGIL) in collaboration with the research institutes “Fondazione Sabattini” and “Fondazione Di Vittorio”.
The aim of the research was to analyse the recent changes in organisation of work and its impact on working and health conditions, considering several factors: organisation of work, working hours and modalities, intensity of owrk, health and safety, working accidents and illnesses, workers’ participation and relationship with the team and team-leaders, economic recognition and professional status.
The main results show the relations between the organisation of work and working conditions, in particular considering the critical issues of working hours and intensification (with a trend towards increased saturation due to the high speed of the production line, the large number of activities, the inadequate length of breaks).
Regarding working relationships, the research shows workers’ difficulties in being heard voice on the processes, with many limits and few opportunities in their dialogue with the working team (in particular with the team leaders) as well as their individual involvement through the presentation of proposals for improvement.
Very negative judgments emerge about the workers’ possibility to be heard (69.2%), on collaboration with colleagues, which has not increased, and on the role of the team leader, who do not support cooperation (59%); more than half of the respondents (54.8%) states that the WCM does not support troubleshooting; proposals for improvement were presented by 45.5% of the workers, but only half of these received a response from the company.
A particularly critical aspect is due the general application of the WCM system: 42% of the respondents said that WCM is applied only during audits; otherwise, there is a partial application of WCM, a total non-application or an alternating phase-based application (only 7% of the sample spoke of is total application). So, it seems that WCM and the tighter production system are oriented more towards an intensification of the workload than towards a general improvement of the quality of the working process.
As regards economic rewards, only about 23% of respondents believe the corporate wage is satisfactory and for 97% of respondents the increase of the workload due to the new production should correspond to an increase in wages.
Even in a highly standardised system, such as the one which is the object of the research, there are limits and differences in the application of WCM and working conditions. The results show how the model of scientific organisation of work has different impacts due to both the type of occupation and production (with negative consequences especially for line workers on assembly lines) and to differences in the modalities with which WCM is applied (for example, for the use of operational signs and the participatory model), personal variables (such as age, educational status and the membership of a trade union) and territorial contexts (with some differences between the North and South of Italy).

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