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Sustaining or abandoning ‘social peace’?

Sustaining or abandoning ‘social peace’?

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Published by N R Dewi Nurmayani
Providing a simple quantitative overview and a short macro-comparative analysis of strike activity in Europe since the 1990s, this working paper assesses whether three strike trends observed in the 1990s continued in the next decade. First of all, there was a continued drop in strike activity measured by days not worked due to strikes. Relative ‘labour quiescence’ was thus also the underlying feature of the 2000s in Europe. Secondly, the rank order in the European ‘strike league table’ shows remarkable stability over a 20-year period. Albeit with a tendency towards convergence, possible future dynamics of workers’ collective action and its meaning will thus almost certainly continue to vary across Europe. Finally, politically motivated mass strikes and demonstrations, especially in the public sector, directed against (planned) government action and legislation to alter employment law were on the increase in the 2000s, with noteworthy effects due to the current socioeconomic crisis. However, it remains to be seen whether an increase in public sector strikes, commonly defensive in nature and seeking to maintain existing employment regulations, will change the continued proliferation of neoliberal policies or stimulate trade union revitalisation.
Providing a simple quantitative overview and a short macro-comparative analysis of strike activity in Europe since the 1990s, this working paper assesses whether three strike trends observed in the 1990s continued in the next decade. First of all, there was a continued drop in strike activity measured by days not worked due to strikes. Relative ‘labour quiescence’ was thus also the underlying feature of the 2000s in Europe. Secondly, the rank order in the European ‘strike league table’ shows remarkable stability over a 20-year period. Albeit with a tendency towards convergence, possible future dynamics of workers’ collective action and its meaning will thus almost certainly continue to vary across Europe. Finally, politically motivated mass strikes and demonstrations, especially in the public sector, directed against (planned) government action and legislation to alter employment law were on the increase in the 2000s, with noteworthy effects due to the current socioeconomic crisis. However, it remains to be seen whether an increase in public sector strikes, commonly defensive in nature and seeking to maintain existing employment regulations, will change the continued proliferation of neoliberal policies or stimulate trade union revitalisation.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: N R Dewi Nurmayani on May 06, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Sustaining or abandoning
 ‘social peace’?
Strike developments and trends inEurope since the 1990s
Kurt Vandaele
.....................................................................................................................................
Working Paper 2011.05
 
european trade union institute
.....................................................................................................................................
Sustaining or abandoning
‘social peace’?
 
Strike development and trends inEurope since the 1990s
Kurt Vandaele
.....................................................................................................................................
Working Paper 2011.05
 
The author would like to thank Heiner Dribbusch, Vera Glassner, Salvo Leonardi andEva Soumeli for helping him with the strike data for Germany, Austria, Italy and Cyprus,respectively. He is also grateful to Baris Erdem Gürkan and Fabian Klein, both internsat the ETUI at the time of writing, for assisting him with the data, to John Kelly andKerstin Hamann for giving permission to quote their paper on general strikes and toVera Glassner, Maria Jepsen, Fabian Klein, Dave Lyddon and Philippe Pochet for theircomments and suggestions.Kurt Vandaele is a senior researcher at the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) inBrussels.Brussels, 2011©Publisher: ETUI aisbl, BrusselsAll rights reservedPrint: ETUI Printshop, BrusselsD/2011/10.574/24ISSN 1994-4446 (print version)ISSN 1994-4454 (pdf version)
The ETUI is nancially supported by the European Union. The European Union is not responsiblefor any use made of the information contained in this publication.

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