Towards a socio-economic restructuring of the Austrian automotive industry

CON-LABOUR analyzes possibilities and obstacles for a socio-ecological conversion of the Austrian automotive (supplier) industry as well as the role of employees and their interest representatives in this process. By reviewing existing literature, interviews, group discussions and participatory observation, the aim is to identify entry points to challenge the "automotive consensus". Such a comprehensive socio-ecological transformation (going beyond market-driven and technological solutions such as e-mobility and digitalization of production) is necessary to effectively counter climate change and excessive consumption of natural resources.

A core assumption of the project is that the participation of employees in the automotive industry (about 5.3% of all employees in the production of goods in Austria work directly in the automotive industry) and their interest representatives (trade unions and works councils) is crucial for the development of alternatives beyond car production and for successful conversion processes that are supported by a broad base of support. In this sense, CON-LABOUR examines the existing institutional framework, the crisis perceptions and experiences of employees, and the social and political power relations in order to further determine the prerequisites necessary for participation in industrial conversion processes.

Project duration: 2018–2020
Project management: Univ-Prof. Dr. Ulrich Brand, Institute for Political Science, University of Vienna
Collaborators: Heinz Högelsberger, Danyal Maneka
Cooperations: Melanie Pichler, Nora Krenmayr, Institute for Social Ecology of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna; Markus Wissen, Berlin School of Economics and Law; Department of Environment and Transport of the Chamber of Labor, Vienna
Funding: The research project was funded by the Climate and Energy Fund (KLIEN).