During the past years, the most prominent strikes in the EU took place in parts of the public sector undergoing reform and at private companies with restructuring activities. In general, the level of industrial conflict was low and tended to decline in the EU, in America and especially in Japan, where the number of strikes decreased from 173 in 2004 to 129 in 2005.
These findings are reported in a publication of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (EIRO).
Unions in most countries have to cope with declining density and difficulties organising a more diversified workforce. Unions in America have responded with more emphasis on ‘grassroots unionism’ and partnerships with community organisations and NGOs. Initiatives in the EU more often focus on providing new services and protection for specific groups.
Significant union mergers took place in Sweden, Denmark, Romania, Slovenia, Austria and the UK. In America, a number of unions left the AFL-CIO to form the Change to Win coalition in 2005.
EIRO. Illustration: Indymedia.be. Thank you Erik Pentenga