Rights yes, Fordism no!

Summon card for the Apps break.


Working youth, the majority in the applications, refuse the Fordist work pattern

Application deliverers organize a powerful movement for the end of this month and beginning of next. The motivation for the strike is related to the halt in negotiations between workers and companies regarding labor regulations that have been debated in a Working Group – GT within the scope of the Ministry of Labor.

Among so many slogans to call for the APPs to be halted, one of the most cited is “Rights yes, flexibility too”. This is an apparent paradox. Rights and flexibility do not mix. In sociology and labor law literature, flexibility is associated with the withdrawal of rights. This has been the case at least in the last four decades, since the FHC government began a prolonged process of flexibility that has undermined the rights achieved in the previous period.

The catalyst for flexibility was the Labor Reform in which the principle of legislated over negotiated assumed centrality in labor relations, completely disfiguring the CLT. The Union Centers, with the arrival of the Lula 3 government, even created the expectation of a possible movement to review the Labor Reform that would rescue the CLT from the rubble. It is known that this will not happen, possibly punctually.

In this context, the slogan 'Rights yes, CLT no' or even 'Rights yes, flexibility too' from application workers cries out and haunts. CLT has always been associated with inclusion, citizenship and access to social protection. Having a formal contract was the dream of generations of workers after the Getúlio Vargas government established it in the 1940s.

A quick interpretation may hastily conclude that application workers do not want the CLT. Erroneous. These workers do want the set of rights that the CLT entails, but they do not want the subordination and rigidity that the CLT entails in what has been called Fordism.

Fordism is characterized by wage employment, splitting of tasks, standardized working hours and in-person and direct subordination to a supervisor, boss or boss. Fordism became known as the commonplace of “beating the card”, that is, pre-determined working hours, as a rule always in the same place and with the same task – repetitive – and under the watchful eyes of the supervisor. The often repeated and well-known illustration of this configuration is that of Chaplin in the film Modern times.

Working youth, the majority in the applications, do not want, refuse and refute this work model. Contrary to what one might think, these are not workers who were seduced by the ideology of entrepreneurship and now own their business. On the contrary, they are aware of the harmful working conditions to which they are subjected, they are aware of “subordinate self-management” as stated by Ludmila Costhek Abílio, referring to the new “invisible boss”, the algorithms. They just don't want, in these adverse conditions, one more thing: the destruction of their work.

Application workers want the freedom to log in and out, thus prioritizing their decision to use their free time. At the same time, they require recognition that when they are logged in, they receive a pre-determined amount because they are already subordinate to the application and, therefore, working. Added to this gain per hour logged, pension, health insurance in case of accidents, end of unilateral blocking of applications and transparency of the criteria used by the algorithms. The demands include CLT rights, but not in their Fordist version.

We fight for dignity with freedom in the use of time.

*Cesar Sanson Professor of sociology of work at the Department of Social Sciences at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN).

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