Working Conditions, Gender and Social Disparity in the Automotive Engineering Industry of the GDR

Automobil-Werk-Eisenach (AWE) since the 1970s

Phd project
Funded by the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung

This PhD project focuses on social disparity and its origins and changes since the 1970s in connection with changes in the working world in the GDR. Disparity developed in the GDR for other reasons and in a different form than in the Federal Republic and manifested itself in other contexts, for example in companies. For this reason, the doctoral project chooses as a case study the Automobilwerk Eisenach (AWE), a so-called focus operation. The AWE was by far one of the biggest employers in the area. Between 1970 and 1989, about 8,000 to 10,000 persons worked in this company. In the second part, the project investigates the developments and changes during the phase transformation in the 1990s, since the end of the GDR also meant the end of many factories. After reunification, the AWE also faced the problem of making its technically-outdated production profitable under the new conditions. After the monetary, economic and social union of July 1990, it became clear that the production of the Wartburg cars in Eisenach would be discontinued. However, the Opel AG established a new factory in Eisenach near the Wartburg factory, where a large part of the former AWE workforce was able to find new jobs. The consequences of this transformation on work, disparity structures and living conditions in the region are the focus of the second part of the study.

Teilprojekt im Rahmen des Promotionskollegs „Soziale Folgen des Wandels der Arbeitswelt in der zweiten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts

Jessica Elsner

Centre for Contemporary History
Am Neuen Markt 1
14467 Potsdam

Office: Am Neuen Markt 1, room 0.19

Email: elsner [at] zzf-potsdam.de

Forschung

Working Conditions, Gender and Social Disparity in the Automotive Engineering Industry of the GDR

Automobil-Werk-Eisenach (AWE) since the 1970s

Phd project
Funded by the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung

This PhD project focuses on social disparity and its origins and changes since the 1970s in connection with changes in the working world in the GDR. Disparity developed in the GDR for other reasons and in a different form than in the Federal Republic and manifested itself in other contexts, for example in companies. For this reason, the doctoral project chooses as a case study the Automobilwerk Eisenach (AWE), a so-called focus operation. The AWE was by far one of the biggest employers in the area. Between 1970 and 1989, about 8,000 to 10,000 persons worked in this company. In the second part, the project investigates the developments and changes during the phase transformation in the 1990s, since the end of the GDR also meant the end of many factories. After reunification, the AWE also faced the problem of making its technically-outdated production profitable under the new conditions. After the monetary, economic and social union of July 1990, it became clear that the production of the Wartburg cars in Eisenach would be discontinued. However, the Opel AG established a new factory in Eisenach near the Wartburg factory, where a large part of the former AWE workforce was able to find new jobs. The consequences of this transformation on work, disparity structures and living conditions in the region are the focus of the second part of the study.

Teilprojekt im Rahmen des Promotionskollegs „Soziale Folgen des Wandels der Arbeitswelt in der zweiten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts

Jessica Elsner

Centre for Contemporary History
Am Neuen Markt 1
14467 Potsdam

Office: Am Neuen Markt 1, room 0.19

Email: elsner [at] zzf-potsdam.de

Forschung