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Erosion of self-management – a Yugoslav factory in post-socialist transition

Kathrin Jurkat

SEER Journal for Labour and Social Affairs in Eastern Europe, 2017, vol. 20, issue 1, 101-116

Abstract: The Yugoslav system of self-management was often seen by those on the left in the west as a model for a socialist economic order which gave real power to workers. Yet, at the end of the 1980s workers themselves decided on the property transformation of their factories which saw the abolition of the bodies of self-management within their factories and their replacement by capitalist forms of work relationship. Using historical anthropological research sources and her own empirical research into workers at Jugoremedija, a pharmaceutical factory in Serbia, the author explores the realities of self-management for workers in socialist Yugoslavia and then, after an historic overview, establishes her answers - among others - in the extent to which such bodies had become discredited by too close an association with the political elites and by western styles of share ownership being preferred despite the obvious attractions of job security underpinning self-management. Here, the trade union also comes in for criticism in terms of the neglect of its role in ensuring workers were kept fully informed.

Date: 2017
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