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Cadmium induced kidney dysfunction in rodents and its relevance to biomonitoring: experimental and environmental findings
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine.
1996 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study deals with how workers actively introduced a new technique to their own labour process. More specifically, it is concerned with how Swedish forest workers during the 1950s gradually replaced the manual one-man crosscut saw with the motor-driven saw.

The workers’ own views and actions are of central importance to the analysis of this process of technical change. Therefore fifty elderly forest workers, who had worked in forests in the county of Västerbotten in northern Sweden, were inter­viewed. The point of departure of the study is the fact that it was the forest workers themselves who financed and bought the chain saw.

The study indicates that there were two main reasons for acquiring a chain saw. The forest workers hoped to lessen the physical work load and to improve their wages. The first workers to use the chain saw I called ”the pioneers”. They had made some, but rather little, acquaintance with the chain saw before they started to use it. They were often disappointed with the new tool. In the middle of the 1950s, the construction of the chain saws was improved and, as a result, the chain saw made its breakthrough in the second half of the 1950s. Those who bought the chain saw during this period were clearly more pleased with it than the pioneers had been.

A few years into the 1960s, when almost all forest workers had bought a chain saw, unemployment slowly started to increase. Simultaneously, the piecework wage system began to change. The chain saws were by this time becoming very efficient, and the benefit could and would not go solely to the forest workers. Employers and forest owners were also to have a share and they manifested this will in the wage negotiations. The forest workers responded by increasing their work tempo, to make the salaries remain at a high level, at least for the most efficient workers. For others, the older and those who were less productive, things became harder.

The increase in work intensity brought with it an increase in accidents and injuries. The workers’ satisfaction in their job deteriorated.

The lesson the forest workers learned, and this guided their actions when new machines were introduced later, was that it was important to act as a collective. Equally important, however, was the insight that good working conditions and a positive wage development do not only depend on technology, but on the social order in which the technology is embedded.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1996. , p. 31
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 481
Keywords [en]
Forestry, forest worker, chain saw, mechanization, rationalization, labour history, working life, technical change, cutting operation
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-144164ISBN: 91-7191-228-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-144164DiVA, id: diva2:1176993
Projects
digitalisering@umuAvailable from: 2018-01-24 Created: 2018-01-24 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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