Management Seminars: Lorenzo Feltrin
Lorenzo Feltrin (Research student, University of Warwick)
G.15, 15-19 Tyndall's Park Road, BRISTOL BS8 1PQ
Title: The Trade Unions and the 2011 Uprisings in Morocco and Tunisia
The paper will present the author’s current PhD research, investigating the impact of historical patterns of labour-state relations on the role of trade unions in the 2011 uprisings in Morocco and Tunisia. Morocco and Tunisia are relatively similar cases, and yet the 2011 uprising in the former did not shake the stability of the regime while in Tunisia the protests quickly spiralled in a full-scale insurrection that initiated a process of democratisation. I will discuss the causes of these different outcomes and argue that these are due to patterns of labour-state relations that emerged through divergent cycles of social struggles.
I will show how in Tunisia, the contradiction between the institutional rigidity of authoritarian corporatism and the demands engendered by social change entered the single labour confederation itself in the form of a deepening polarisation between the top leadership and the politicised rank and file. In Morocco, more limited socioeconomic development and labour weakness were coupled with higher institutional flexibility, especially in the form of trade union pluralism and party intermediation between labour and the state. These differences contributed to an escalation of conflict in Tunisia, while in Morocco the regime was better placed to defuse tensions.