The study is based on life history interviews with 16 workers aged between 49 and 62 at Volvo’s Torslanda plant. The objective has been to try to understand how workers’ experiences and the ageing process have led them to think, feel and act in the way they do now.
The study reveals that all of them want to retire before 65, preferably at 60 or even earlier. Many of them, particularly the women, also feel physically tired and/or have health problems that reduce their capacity for work. Their working lives have been characterised by subordination that has intensified as they have become older, resulting in mental tiredness.
There are also a number of norms that reinforce their desire to take early retirement. One norm specific to the company consists of the recurrent pension scheme offers, a social norm is that it is considered an entitlement that everyone should have a few years as a healthy pensioner, and a class-related norm is that the workers consider early retirement for those who have had a physically demanding job for many years to be fair.
Despite the desire to take early retirement, they stress how much work has meant to them, and to some extent, how much it still means. They emphasise in particular the sense of community that exists in a workplace, and the experience of continuity that work provides. The relatively well paid work has also provided them with the opportunity to create a good life materially with a sense of pride and dignity.
Since the early 1990s older workers at the Torslanda plant have also been offered the unique opportunity of doing the usual assembly work at the same rate of pay as before, but with a less demands on their performance. These special "senior" posts were gradually phased out in the early 2000s due to rationalisations, which is one reason why it is now more difficult to find suitable jobs for those who need less physically demanding work.
The influence they have in their working lives and the subordination they feel are aspects that contribute to their class affiliation. Björn Ohlsson feels that the sense of vulnerability and impotence is becoming particularly clear now that some two thousand workers at Volvo Cars have been made redundant or forced to leave their jobs in other ways.
The study can also be viewed as an example of the way in which working life is changing in Sweden. The author of the thesis feels that there is a risk that the developments at Volvo in recent years will lead to a form of working life that is not sustainable in the long-term.
- Besides putting some flesh on the bones of the discussion regarding the problem of an ageing population and the way in which working life is changing, I hope that the thesis will produce some understanding for the way in which industrial workers view their working lives, and that there can be ways of thinking other than those that predominate in the media, says Björn Ohlsson.Title of the thesis: We who stayed at Volvo - an ethnological study of senior automobile-industry blue-collar workers’ working-lives and future plans.
Opponent: Professor Anders Björklund, Stockholm, Sweden
Helena Aaberg | alfa
Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy