Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 3 2004, page 27-44.
Pernille Tanggaard Andersen
The article is a sociological analysis of young unskilled women’s attitudes towards the union, KAD (Women’s Labour Union). It discusses how the union is challenged, and focuses on the women’s perceptions of and practices in community and solidarity. Theoretically the article examines various approaches to understanding the labour market, community and solidarity in late modernity. The approaches establish a framework for the analysis. The empirical investigation includes 20 interviews with unskilled women and fieldwork at six high technological factories. The analysis shows that communities are not out date. In general, the investigation indicates that work life offers the opportunity of identification and formation of communities. The analysis demonstrates that the introduction of new organizations of work often means a more heterogenous community on the place of work, but the community on the factory does not indicate a rejection of the union idea more a supplement to it. So even though the younger unskilled women’s affiliation with the union is individually and instrumentally motivated, the individual orientation is not opposed to supporting the idea of the union. In the younger women’s orientations there are three general demands posed to the union. Firstly the women claim the right of autonomy in relation to the membership. Secondly they want more visibility in every- day work life, which among other things means a fortification of their representatives’ function. Thirdly the younger unskilled women want more individual service and flexible offers. The younger unskilled women thus dissociate themselves from the uniformity in the members’ labour agreement and from standard solutions.