Indexed on: 01 Mar '08Published on: 01 Mar '08Published in: Animal : an international journal of animal bioscience
Farmers have to cope with both society and market pressures in their working practices, as well as with the enlargement of farms, off-farm opportunities and profound changes in the workforce. Expectations in terms of working duration and rhythms are increasingly expressed by farmers, meaning that working conditions and the efficiency of work organisation are critical issues nowadays. The bibliography shows that work organisation is mainly discussed by social scientists, but that livestock scientists make a significant contribution to the debate. Indeed, technical changes modify working calendars, priorities between tasks and interchangeability among workers; technical adaptations are levers to solving problems of work with equipment, buildings and the workforce. We present here French approaches to work organisation that take into account livestock management and its implications in work organisation. The 'Work Assessment' method represents the work organisation and evaluates work durations and time flexibility for farmers. The ATELAGE model describes and qualifies work organisation with its various regulations and time scales, integrating the other activities - economic or private - that farmers can carry on. Three principles underpin them: not all workers are interchangeable; tasks have different temporal characteristics (rhythms, postponement, etc.); and the year is a succession of work periods that differ in their daily form of organisation. We illustrate with concrete examples how these approaches contribute to helping and guiding farmers in their thoughts about change.