chapter  3
Credentialism and Recommendations: The Bases of the Reproduction of the Metallurgical Working Class in Contemporary Argentina
Pages 14

This chapter addresses some of the central processes entailed in the reproduction of the industrial working class in contemporary Argentina. The study focuses on one of the major integrated steelworks of the country, which is the main source of employment in the urban setting in which it is inserted.2 The company was founded as a state enterprise and continued to be under state stewardship until its privatization at the early 1990s.3 The plant’s transfer into the hands of private capital entailed a drastic reduction in the number of workers who were permanently employed and hired directly by the company. The restructuring associated with privatization had very negative implications for the future possibilities that young working class people would have with regard to continuing their family’s tradition of working in the industry, sometimes over several generations. At the point of the plant’s foundation workers came from different regions of the country looking for work and harboring the hope of settling down in San Nicolás, the town adjacent to the steel plant. This first generation of workers was drawn from migrants who addressed the company’s need for the large numbers of workers needed to build the plant and, subsequently, set it in operation. Coming from a range of work environments, but largely from the agricultural sector, these workers had no significant educational qualifications. Their children benefited from what would come to be seen as an established practice of intergenerational job transfer, which was widespread among state employees, and guaranteed entry into the plant.