Switzerland. The challenges surrounding the vote on the “Responsible Business Initiative”
This article offers a consideration of the “Responsible Business Initiative” on which Swiss citizens voted on 29 November 2020. The initiative called for the introduction of an obligation on the part of Swiss multinationals to respect human rights and environmental standards across their overseas subsidiaries. In this article, we exa-mine the reasons behind the unprecedented campaign surrounding this initiative and the political challenges which it is likely to stir up in Swiss social and economic con-texts, particularly for unions.
Keywords: Switzerland, multinationals, popular initiative, duty of care, due dili-gence, social and environmental justice.
Austria. Social housing in Vienna: an original model at a crossroads
While the Viennese social housing model may be largely unknown in France, it is often held up as an example in the Germanic world, giving rise to the expression “tenant’s paradise.” It has nevertheless been running out of steam and unable to avoid the exclusion of the most vulnerable. The 2019 reform of building regulations might therefore seem like an ambitious measure to reinvigorate social housing against a backdrop of strong population growth and increased property speculation.
Keywords: Austria, Vienna, social housing, social housing policy, exclusion, property speculation.
Germany. Industry 4.0: towards a concerted digitalization of the manufacturing industry?
The profound transformation embarked upon by German industry starting in the 1990s to revive its competitivity has sharpened awareness that its continuation de-pends on its capacity for innovation. In successive debates, “Industry 4.0” has become the main term of reference. This article examines Industry 4.0 as a process of social and political transformation of a technological utopia with an industrial agenda.
Keywords: Germany, Industry 4.0, digitalization, technological utopia, industrial agenda, concertation.
United States. Donald Trump’s record on employment: what are the challenges faced by union organisations?
The Trump administration’s employment policy combined the Republican policy of deregulation of workers’ rights and supply-side policy with the radical protectionism also promoted by the left wing of the Democratic Party and the union movement. It did not succeed in reversing long-term trends in the employment market, nor in crea-ting jobs. The working-class voter base of Donald Trump raises questions about the traditional alliance of American unions with the Democratic Party and Democratic governments.
Keywords: United States, Trump, employment, protectionism, unions, Democratic Party, elections.
Italy. The role of self-organized collectives in the representation of bicycle delivery riders
Collectives to defend the rights of bicycle delivery riders have emerged in recent years in Italy. One of the best-known, Riders Union Bologna, was behind the Bolo-gna Charter, an agreement aimed at regulating labour relations with bicycle delivery riders. These collectives prioritize media coverage of the “cause” of delivery riders to gain legitimacy with public authorities, a process which raises questions about the practices and strategies of traditional unions.
Keywords: Italy, Riders Union Bologna, bicycle delivery riders, Bologna Charter, negotiation, self-organized collectives, unions.