Accueil » 30-1 ( 1975) » Relations industrielles et science politique

Relations industrielles et science politique

Dimitri Weiss


Dans cet article, l'auteur tente d'établir, dans une optique européenne avec un regard particulier à la situation italienne, les liens existant entre le domaine des études des relations industrielles et la science politique.


Industrial Relations and Political Science

In France and elsewhere much has been said about trade-unions and politics. Specialists in labour legislation were interested in the illicit nature of political strike and in the one of trade-union information with political backbone by revealing the flimsy limits parting « politic » from « professional » in union activity.

To certain European observers the opposition between political activity and professionnal activity seems futile and false at the same time (Verdier) and conceptually doubtful (Pizzorno).

The Industrial Relations Congress of Laval University held on April 30th and on May 1st, 1973 laid down the following theme: « Political Orientation of Labour Relations ». The author intends to use additionnal factors, not only about links between labour relations and politics, but between the field of studies on industrial relations and political science.

The latter, a matter of crucial importance that D. Carrier wished to become a « valid science of industrial relations », stands at the cross-roads of social sciences. It was therefore interesting to contact the specialists in political science, in order to try to understand the links between those two disciplines in full development.

This opportunity was offered by the bulletin « Le syndicalisme compare » fromRivista italiana di scienza politica, under the direction of Giovani Sartori. He criticizes the excessive pressure of American political economists upon decisions pertaining to political science activity, the way of doing it, likewise he regrets they have left to specialists in industrial relations to look after trade-unions.

The writer briefly considere the notions of professors Parsons, Leon Dion, Dunlop and Sartori and praises for a much closer view of the social system and of its elements — the political system as such must be suited explicitly to the economic system and also to the industrial relations system — which determine in a more satisfying way the various interactions and especialy the cross-checks from the field of industrial relations activity with the one of the political system.

All that in circumstances under which trade-unions, social partners in an industrial relations system, are on the verge of becoming more thanpressure groups in some European countries, but realpower groups, full timepolitical manoeuvrers, performing under a logic other than the one used in pressure groups. Henceforth trade-unions get directly into the political system as the main object of political activity.

Sartori enjoins us to study the compared trade-unionism considered as part and parcel of compared politics. The writer wishes compared trade-unionism to become the aim in forming real specialists in compared industrial relations.