University of Hertfordshire

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Workers' resistance in special economic zones in Poland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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Original languageEnglish
JournalEmployee Relations
Early online date6 Aug 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Aug 2020


Purpose: This article compares workers' resistance in foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the automotive and electronics sectors in two special economic zones (SEZs) in the north-east and south-west of Poland. It aims to investigate why, despite the shared characteristics of the SEZs, that there are different outcomes in terms of the balance of formal resistance through trade unions and informal resistance through sabotage. Design/methodology/approach: A spatial framework of analysis is posited to examine how global capital, national employment frameworks and regional institutions play out in local labour markets and shape workers' sense of place and their capacity for workplace resistance. The research study is based on interviews with trade union officials and non-union employees in four foreign investment firms in Poland. Findings: The findings point to the importance of the type of production in influencing the structural power of organised labour and the social agency workers influenced by their understanding of place. Originality/value: Analysing workplace resistance and industrial relations from a spatial perspective.


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