Accueil » 52-1 ( 1997) » La flexibilité du travail dans le secteur du textile et de l'habillement en Grèce du Nord

La flexibilité du travail dans le secteur du textile et de l'habillement en Grèce du Nord

Theodore Pelagidis

Résumé

Cette étude a pour objectif la mise en relief des formes et caractéristiques que revêt la flexibilité — du travail principalement — du système productif de l'agglomération de Thessalonique, région connue pour son potentiel et la souplesse de ses structures de production et de travail. La première partie traite des concepts de flexibilité numérique et de flexibilité fonctionnelle dans le cadre de l'entreprise flexible, ainsi que des diverses interprétations qui en ont été faites. Nous utilisons ensuite ces concepts, dans la deuxième partie, pour étudier les caractéristiques de la flexibilité du système de production de l'agglomération de Thessalonique dans ses branches les plus dynamiques, à savoir l'habillement et le textile. L'enquête sur le terrain permet de préciser les traits distinctifs et de dégager la forme de flexibilité qui semble fonder le dynamisme de ce système productif.

Abstract

This paper is based on a case study concerning labour flexibility in the textiles and clothing industry located in the Greater Thessaloniki area of Northern Greece. The paper employs case studies in order to develop a clear view of the characteristics of a particular industrial district and so as to avoid facile generalizations.

The first section presents and analyses the concepts of "numerical" and "functional" flexibility in the context of the "flexible firm" paradigm, with special attention to peripheral employment. The holistic approaches of Piore and Sabel (flexible specialization), Sayer and Dore (flexible fordism) and Martinelli and Schoenberger (flexible accumulation) are also presented, laying the groundwork for the empirical case study outlined in the second part of the paper.

In the second section, the nature and character of industrial and labour flexibility, in the industrial district of Thessaloniki is closely investigated. The field work was concentrated on the textiles and clothing industry because it constitutes the greater majority of industrial activity in Northern Greece and also clearly represents the area's competitive success in international markets. These two sectors were also chosen because they are seen as the leaders in Greek industry's adaptation to the European Union market and more importantly, they highly employ flexible labour. The research involved the distribution of questionnaires and their subsequent statistical analysis. For the purposes of the analysis, the figures produced correspond to four constructed groups: (1) market-competition, (2) network, (3) internal employment and (4) external employment. The results show that dynamism of the industrial district under study should mainly be attributed to defensive flexibility and especially to the employment of a low-paid and low-skilled peripheral labour force. Homeworking, subcontracting, and generally the externalization of production are found to be key features of industrial activity of the region. The results of the empirical study are reinforced by statistical data provided by international organizations such as the OECD and the European Union.

Because of the predominance of defensive flexibility, the picture of the Thessaloniki industrial district more closely resembles the view supported in the first section of the paper by the so-called "pessimistic" authors (Martinelli, Schoenberger, Sayer, Dore). New developments seem, in the case presented in this paper, to favour the down-grading of labour, not only in terms of wage levels, but also conditions and terms of employment. Under these conditions, the future outlook for the textiles and clothing industry in Northern Greece seems very fragile and uncertain.

Resumen

Este estudio tiene como objetivo el examinar las formas y las caracteristicas en la flexibilidad del trabajo en algunas de la empresas de la aglomeración de Thessalonique, région conocida por su dinamismo y por la flexibilidad de sus structuras de producción y de trabajo. La primera parte trata de los conceptos de flexibilidad numérica y de flexibilidad funcional dentro del marco de la empresa flexible. En la segunda parte, estos conceptos son utilizados para estudiar las caracteristicas de flexibilidad del sistema de producción mas dinamico de la aglomeración de Thessalonique, aquellos en el sector textil y del vestido. El estudio de terreno permite precisar las caracteristicas distintivas de este sistema de producción.