The purpose of this blog is to provide analytical commentary on formal and informal labour organisations and their attempts to resist ever more brutal forms of exploitation in today’s neo-liberal, global capitalism.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

What future for the right to strike in the UK?

Yet again a planned strike was deemed illegal by a High Court judge in the UK. On Monday 17 May, Mr Justice McCombe ruled that Unite, the trade union which organises British Airways (BA) cabin crew, had failed to tell its 12,000 members about the 11 spoilt ballot papers in the last strike vote. This is a clear minor technicality, which in no way affected the overall outcome of the ballot. BA had made a new offer, which was overwhelmingly rejected by trade union members at the beginning of May. In a turnout of 71 per cent, the majority against the proposals was 81 per cent.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Finnish trade unions in changing times – Part I: the end of tripartism?

In the period of 8 April to 12 May 2010, I carried out 23 interviews on the Finnish political economy with representatives of Finnish trade unions, employers’ associations, political parties and government ministries. It became clear that Finnish trade unions face significant challenges in currently uncertain and changing times.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The Winter of Discontent revisited

Due to an increasing number of strikes the current situation has been compared with the so-called Winter of Discontent in 1978/1979. At a closer look, however, there are a number of core differences between then and now. In the 1970s, the struggle was over wage increases and how to control inflation, now it is about rising state debt and increasing unemployment. In the Winter of Discontent, there was a disjuncture between the private and public sector, with the former being able to meet higher demands by workers. Now, both private and public sector are equally affected by the global economic recession and increasing levels of unemployment. Finally, in the 1970s it was easy for trade unions to organize strikes, now they are faced with an extremely complex ballot system.