_http://www.truthout.org/030509G#1_ (http://www.truthout.org/030509G#1) 
The causes of the euphemization of the automobile industry's social  movement 
are various. The first lies in the significant reduction of the number  of 
employees, and, in particular, of workers on production sites over the last  
thirty years: Renault-Flins, which produces the Clio, went from 23,000 
in the 1960s to 3,500. At Peugeot-Sochaux, manpower has fallen from 42,000  
employees in 1978 to a little less than 18,000 today. 
These reductions are not only the result of technical progress that  
substituted robots or automation for people; these drops in manpower come both  
outsourcing to regions with lower manpower costs and sub-contracting  
(manufacturers no longer produce more than 30 percent of value-added 
versus 70 to 75 percent during the 1970s). At most sub-contractors, and  
at second and third-tier subcontractors, there are no unions, but  very high 
levels of part-time workers hired and fired at the complete pleasure  of 
management. Salaries may be 30-50 percent lower than those obtained at the  
To summarize, the globalization of the automobile industry's markets and of  
the capital likely to invest in it tend to align the work conditions and  
salaries of industrialized countries with those of lowest-bidder countries. And 
that alignment began at the same time as the explosion of that organizational  
revolution which occurred almost unnoticed in France, that is, the  
"Japanization" of production with the generalization of the principle of  
inventory management. 
That principle rests on the disappearance of work-in-progress and buffer  
stocks that would allow workers to "breathe" on the production line. The end of 
work-in-progress means that if a single link out of 100 to 200 (men or work  
stations) fails, the whole line stops, entailing significant cost-overruns. 
This  increased fragility of the production process is purposeful and 
a  vicious cycle constructed by company management to mobilize its personnel; 
 moreover, this organizational model involves a drastic reduction of  
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