Nowak, J. & Gallas, A. (2014) ‘Mass Strikes Against Austerity in Western Europe – A Strategic Assessment’

‘Mass Strikes Against Austerity in Western Europe – A Strategic Assessment’, Global Labour Journal. Vol. 5. No. 3.


The politics of austerity and the changes to labour law in many Western European countries have led to a wave of mass strikes that is unprecedented in that part of the world, at least since the end of World War II. The strikes are predominantly one-day political and general strikes. Their characteristics are (a) a huge participation in historical comparison, (b) the crucial role of unions and workers from the public sector, and (c) a general lack of success. We give a brief account of the strike wave since 2008 and address four questions: 1. What type of strike do we encounter? 2. What are the socio-economic and political conditions that have led to the emergence of this type? 3. What are its limits as a means of struggle? 4. Which steps would have to be taken in order to change the relations of forces in favour of the European working classes?

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