CfP: Workforce reductions in shipbuilding: towards a comparative framework for global labour history

Call for papers, deadline 30 May 2016

Workforce reductions in shipbuilding: towards a comparative framework for global labour history - Lund, August 2016

Call for papers, deadline: 30.05.2016

The shipbuilding industry has been heavily influenced by temporal ups and downs related to economic cycles and political events, as well as long-term structural and technological changes. Workforce reductions and other forms of labour adjustments have been recurring themes in the history of the industry. These adjustments have been shaped by different national institutions, including legislation on employment protection, various forms of employment contracts and workers' co-determination, with implications for workers' solidarity. However, workers have also tried to influence allocation of job losses and shown alternative ways of adjusting labour to new market demands and technological conditions.

This workshop aims to explore issues relating to workforce reductions, labour adjustments and contract structures in various countries that have been connected to the shipbuilding industry; looking for similarities, differences and possible connections between the countries. We would like to pay attention to rules and practices for the justifiable scope of economic reasons for collective dismissals, the consultation process of unions or employee representatives, the criteria for selecting redundant workers, and also for compensations for collective dismissals. In the workshop we want to answer following questions: How have rules and practices concerning labour adjustments, including collective dismissals, evolved in each country? What are the implications of those rules and practices for workers' movements and solidarity?

Building upon case studies from the project "In the Same Boat? Shipbuilding and ship repair workers: a global labour history (1950-2010)" ( we seek to find a common conceptual and analytical framework for global comparisons. For that reason we plan to have not only sessions about single cases but also a part where we discuss the comparative approach.

The workshop is a follow-up to a previous meeting in Berlin 2014, where papers on Germany, South Korea, Japan and Sweden were presented, but we welcome all researchers who are interested in the global labour history of shipbuilding workers and workforce reductions.

Tobias Karlsson, Wonchul Shin, Johanna Wolf;