Managing Change in an Era of Globalisation
Edited by Bernard Gazier and Frédéric Bruggeman
Frédéric Bruggeman and Bernard Gazier More than ever at the beginning of the new century, restructuring processes, the fears they inspire and the changes they trigger, are at the top of the European agenda. Europe has a long lasting tradition of absorbing and cushioning the harmful social eﬀects of restructuring. One may recall here the founding experience of the European Community of Coal and Steel in the 1950s, which greatly helped these sectors and their workers to cope with plant closure, reconversion and redeployment. Compared to the rest of the world, Europe often does more (Auer, Besse and Méda (eds) 2005). This can be attributed to its long lasting and well implanted “social model” (in its quite diﬀerent manifestations) and also to a tradition of active intervention by the State or the local authorities in a context of limited labour mobility. One often implicit but persistent choice made by policymakers in Europe has been, and still is, not to abandon depressed areas when ﬁrms leave them, but to re-develop territories and help regions doing it. This choice is congruent with the strong propensity of many European workers to stay in their region of origin even if companies and job opportunities leave. These are at least four reasons for dissatisfaction with this situation. First, even when cushioned, the ruptures associated with plant closure and mass dismissals remain amongst the most brutal one can experience. Like divorce or a major health problem, they have signiﬁcant impacts...