Contemporary capitalism is characterized by the central role of global value chains (GVCs) that heavily rely on logistics and transport services. Thus, logistics services––and among them warehousing and handling of commodities and consumption goods––affect the competitiveness of companies and countries. In the last decades, firms have reacted to this new environment by outsourcing logistics services to specialized operators, from large multinational logistics companies to small worker cooperatives. In some cases, logistics cost efficiency has been reached by investments in new technologies and organizational arrangements, thus increasing workers’ qualification. In other cases, labor cost-savings within GVCs have accompanied by heavy social costs, in terms of workers’ wage and nonwage conditions often bordering full-fledged exploitation practices. In this chapter, we focus on the functioning of a “shadow management system” that has characterized part of logistics firms in Northeastern Italy.
Part of the book: Positive and Negative Aspects of Outsourcing