Lorenzo Avellino

The Contested Hierarchy: The Fiat Heads since Post-War to «March of the 40,000»

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract


The history of the hierarchical relationships at Fiat is one of the last remaining blind spots in the enormous historiography on the Italian automobile manufacturer. Using the industrial foreman as focal point, the author aims to fill this gap. By analyzing corporate and union documents, this article retraces the gradual loss of margins of discretion by foremen that characterized the rapid implementation of Taylor-Fordist systems during the 1950s and the 1960s. It then describes the enormous tension suffered by the foremen during the intense cycle of workers' struggles starting with the «hot autumn» in 1969, and lastly their public stance in the famous «March of the 40,000» in October 1980. The author suggests that the roots of this central episode are to be sought in productive and managerial choices, technological changes, and the forms of workers struggles stating from the second post-War period, rather than describing it as a mere reaction to terrorism or political violence.

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