Local Communities and Post-Communist Transformation: Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia

By Simon Smith | Go to book overview

issues – and they were grateful for this much. For bread we can read jobs, and for butter wages: jobs are a fundamental priority for workers in a country where unemployment exceeds 20 per cent and in a sector where essential modernisation is not yet complete; wages are higher in these enterprises than the average for a sector whose comparative advantage is cheap labour costs, and usually only become a meaningful demand after the entry of foreign capital (which is presented by political and economic elites and in the media as a condition for current stability and future prosperity). The German and French owners of these two firms are amenable to trade unions, progressive in the application of new human resource management approaches and at the same time have preserved existing standards of enterprise welfare services. Although they have provided job opportunities for blue-collar workers they have not as a rule offered more autonomous and multi-skilled work, nor prospects for career development, personal and professional growth. Participation in management and union involvement in co-decision-making likewise remain issues of secondary concern among these workers. Despite this foreign employers have managed to engender in their workforces a commitment to the firm and a feeling of job satisfaction, simply by providing the chance to earn one's daily bread through work.

Our research findings therefore point to a certain discrepancy between Slovak and 'western' forms of dual identity, which is unlikely to be eliminated as long as the contemporary phase of economic globalisation reproduces patterns of core–periphery relations which impose severe constraints on the potential of local actors in countries like Slovakia.


Notes
1
Source: Názory 1992, no. 4. Respondents had the option of choosing more than one of the alternatives.
2
For instance, according to the survey Contemporary Problems of Slovakia in May 1994 (FOCUS Bratislava) 79 per cent of the public agreed with the opinion that 'the state should provide a job for everyone who is willing to work'; 69 per cent agreed that 'economic changes should proceed slowly to prevent unemployment'; 57 per cent thought that 'state ownership of enterprises should predominate'; and 48 per cent thought that 'prior to 1989 the economy required only minor changes'.
3
According to the EU-sponsored survey 'Strategies and Actors of Social Transformation and Modernisation' (carried out in the summer of 1995 by the Institute of Sociology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences on a random sample of 956 adults aged 20–59):

If it were up to you would you like to:

Work in a private company 12.3%

Work in a state-owned company 56.3%

Work in your own company 19.7%

Work abroad 10.5%

Not work at all 1.2%

Source: Transformation and Modernisation. Codebook 1995.

-123-

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Local Communities and Post-Communist Transformation: Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Basees/Routledgecurzon Series on Russian and East European Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables vii
  • Contributors ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • 1 - Sociological Readings of Post-Communist Lifeworlds 1
  • Notes 13
  • Bibliography 14
  • 2 - Civil Society and Political Parties in the Czech Republic 19
  • Bibliography 39
  • 3 - Agents for Community Self-Determination? Experiences of Local Actors 41
  • Notes 85
  • Bibliography 89
  • 4 - The Slovak Union of Nature and Landscape Conservationists 92
  • Notes 103
  • 5 - Electronics Industry Workers in Slovakia 1995–2000 105
  • Notes 123
  • Bibliography 124
  • 6 - Case Studies from the Electronics Industry 126
  • Notes 141
  • 7 - The Czech Republic 1990–2000 143
  • Notes 158
  • Bibliography 159
  • 8 - Civic Potential as a Differentiating Factor in the Development of Local Communities 161
  • Bibliography 182
  • 9 - Group Strategies of Local Communities in Slovakia Facing Social Threats 184
  • Bibliography 205
  • 10 - The Narrativisation of Social Transformation 206
  • Notes 216
  • Bibliography 218
  • Index 221
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