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Reindustrialization, Labor, and Precariousness in Romania: A Case Study of Factories in Baia Mare

Tens of thousands of workers are currently employed in factories in the Baia Mare area. Most factories are greenfield projects, while old industrial sites in Baia Mare have been abandoned. Most employees working in furniture, mattresses, clothing and footwear producing factories receive a minimum wage for full-time work. The young and “disciplined” employees manage to supplement their minimum wage by working overtime or doing additional shifts, depending on the employer’s needs. Some resort to seasonal work abroad in order to ensure their families’ survival. The factories in question are a precarious link within the capitalist circuit, operating as outsourced factories for large Western companies – the largest by production volume and number of employees being Ikea. The experience of managers and workers in these factories shows how factories and employees alike are in an extremely vulnerable and volatile position. Their bargaining power is minimal, while constant concessions are essential for survival.