7515 - Transnational Production Networks and the Transformation of Labour Markets and Work Regimes The Case of Contract Manufacturing in the IT-Industry in Mexico and Brazil

With the emergence of Electronics Contract Manufacturing (EMS) as a paradigmatic example of transnational production networks we notice a massive shift of manufacturing to low cost locations in Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe. The new EMS plants that emerged in the end of the 1990ies are highly standardized and their profile can be considered to be “state of the art”. However, little attention has been paid so far to the effect on labour markets and the gender and work regimes emerging in the new regional contexts which entail new lines of inequality. Based on Michael Burawoys concept of “Politics of Production” I could identify neotaylorist production regimes in my research in Brazil and Mexico – the two countries where Contract Manufacturers located their new facilities in Latin America. The production regimes differ due two various influencing factors. Among the most important I could identify: - Industrial policy (as a pre-condition for the mode of integration of the respective economy into the world market); - Regional factors (i.e. between São Paulo and the Zona Franca de Manaus); - Changes in industrial relations (i.e. loss of seniority rights in Mexico due to precarious employment relations); - Power relations in class conflicts (Brazil: locations traditionally organized by trade unions, Mexico: absence of trade unions, new forms of transnationally integrated workers organizations); - Gender relations (inside and outside the factory – mode of reproduction of the work force relies on the informal sector and influences household organization); - The state plays an essential role in this process of change through industrial policy and the social and labour market policy.

Keywords: Transnational production networks, production regimes, industrial policy, labour and employment relations

Author: Sproll, Martina (desiguALdades.net, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany / Deutschland)


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