L'auteur analyse d'abord la réalité économique des licenciements collectifs relativement aux licenciements individuels et à l'emploi au Québec de 1979 à 1984. Face à la question du dédommagement des travailleurs touches par un licenciement collectif, l'auteur propose ensuite un critère de décision qui est en même temps un critère d'équité.
This article analyses the economie reality of mass layoffs compared to individual layoffs in the Province of Quebec from 1979 to 1984. It arrives at the following conclusions:
1. Layoffs follow a pronounced cyclical pattern. This is true regarding both the number of notices of mass layoff and the number of workers affected by them.
2. From 85 to 90% of mass layoff notices affect less than 100 workers. Nevertheless, a significant number — between 45 and 111 annually — affect more than 100.
3. Temporary layoffs and mass layoffs represent a relatively minor proportion of employment, and unemployment, as well as individual temporary and other layoffs — between 2.95% and 5.95% in the last case. The proportion, however, varies considerably in the economic cycle.
4. The same observation can be made concerning mass and individual layoffs in the strict sense.
5. The number of complete closures involving mass layoffs constitutes a small proportion of the total number of bankruptcies — from 4.09 to 9.63%. Regarding the question of compensation of affected workers, the author proposes criteria to facilitate decision-making and establish the notion of fair play. They are based on the idea of the specifie link between the worker and the firm. The corresponding link between worker and firm is defined in the following terms:
- the particuliarities of the techniques and procedures used by the firm, necessitating specifie on the job training for the worker;
- the number of years of service with the same firm which contributes to making him «industry-specified»;
- the distance of the firm from the major economic centres, limiting job choice;
- the number of workers in the same firm; in cases of simultaneous layoffs of large numbers of workers, chances of finding employment quickly are reduced.
The exact combination of means used to offset this problem — advance notice, compensation, retraining, relocation — varies according to the economy in question, particularly with reference to social choices.