Companies' responsability Trade unions strategies Regions Transitional agencies



For a long time, restructuring has heavily been affecting regions, zones of life, labour market areas or departments. Very early, regions such as Lorraine, Nord Pas de Calais, Rhur, North-East of England, Göteborg, and many others… got confronted with apparently inextricable problems due to major restructuring hitting economic or industrial activities structuring the region. The region has long not been considered as a direct actor in these processes which involved above all company actors. It is only recently (in 2002) that France included in its labour laws an article defining the commitments of companies to labour market areas in case of a restructuring. None of the other countries of the project does have a similar regulation.


But in each country, studies show regions which take part in an innovative way in restructuring processes whenever they are of a certain scale:
in several cases, the – early – announcement of a big industrial restructuring in a historical sector of the labour market area threatens the precarious economic and social balance after previous waves of de-industrialisation (Vauxhall , Dortmund ),
in the case of Göteborg , the announcement of collective dismissals by several employers of the telecom sector, and in particular by the major one of them, concerning mainly highly qualified engineers, threatens the whole industrial restructuring strategy towards high added value industries led by the region after the shipyard, textile and car industry crisis that took place twenty years before,
in the case of Saint-Nazaire , the anticipation of a drastic activity reduction of the main customer for the two coming years , followed by a later resumption of its activity involves an important risk for employment and for the survival of local companies, and thus for itself,
in the case of the Tarn , the whole network of small companies and even the identity of the labour market area are in danger of disappearing, partly due to the competition of the Toulouse metropolis and the working conditions seen as not very attractive in these very small companies; the region also undergoes massive job reductions in its industrial small and medium sized companies.

The emergence of regions as actors of restructuring processes then leads to modify and go beyond traditional methods by fostering:
a decompartmentalisation between economic actions and actors on the one hand and social actions and actors on the other hand,
an opportunity to go beyond the boundaries of the company going through a restructuring process,
an adaptation to ways of action and a change in the traditional representation of numerous actors.
  Here again, beyond local specificities, the comparison of multinational experiences makes it possible to identify common stakes and methods, particularly related to the intervention conditions of the regions as actors of restructuring processes and to the ways of implementation of plans and actions they participate in.
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