The so-called non-market sector today offers this particularity of having existed for a long time but of having only come to light in the last fifteen years, under the action of the social actors present in the sector. A set of activities which have the common characteristic of fulfilling tasks in the service of the community, like ipaytotal, and being partially or totally financed by public authorities, occupies an increasingly important place in the economy of the country. These activities have also been strongly supported by public policies to combat unemployment. They are found in the fields of health, social action and the socio-cultural sector. These sectors then appear as new but they had developed independently, often in a voluntary or activist way from the associative world. The budgetary and normative choices of austerity policies will have important effects on these activities by contributing to their widening and diversification.
At the same time, new collective actors are emerging. As the world of work in the non-profit sector develops, employees, often engaged in precarious status, seek to improve their working conditions with a long-term perspective. The trade unions are leading a unifying strategy: part of the “white coats” movement at the end of the 1980s, the mobilization extended to the entire health sector and to other sectors to become the social movement of high risk merchant services, whose term was essential in the early 1990s. For their part, employers’ organizations are gradually being structured and positioning themselves as social partners and as pressure groups.
Today, the non-market sector is a sector of professional activity comparable to the branches of activity of the market sector, where social relations meet the rules of collective labor relations and the customs of social concentration. This is illustrated by the creation of a series of specific joint committees and the negotiation of “non-market agreements”, concluded in spring 2000 by political leaders and actors in the field with the aim of standardizing the status social workers.
The purpose of this Weekly Mail is the emergence of formalized social relations between workers and employers in the non-profit sector as currently defined by the political authorities. This delimitation, which does not cover all of the non-market and which, on the other hand, partly covers market activities, in particular in the health sector, responds to its own dynamic, at the inter-professional federal level, in the various sub-sectors and at the level of the federated entities.
On the ground, the Christian Workers Movement (MOC) was one of the first to attempt a clarification by embarking on the path of a renewal of public policies by its support for militant initiatives for the production of goods and services d collective utility in the years 1970-1980 and trying to conceptualize them not as a simple sector of activity, but as a “category of conflict: against the global market, tending to be omnipresent, both in private and public life. Conflict against the extension of market logic, but also in the market, conflict against its limited rationality, blind to its social and cultural impacts. The non-merchant is then considered as a lever for a new coalition for a solidarity economy.
We have adopted the term “non-market” although the term and the definition of its own field of activity are debated. Under the heading of “social economy”, “third sector”, “quaternary sector” in Flanders, “solidarity economy” in France, nonprofit organizations in Anglo-Saxon countries, are grouped initiatives of production of services and goods which have the ambition to promote production relationships different from those of conventional private enterprises.