by Halvor Fjermeros
Unrest in Euroland – Labour Disempowerment and Social Resistance to the EU´s New Working Day
A great deal is written and said about social need and various protests against austerity measures in a Europe in the throes of an economic crisis. However, scant attention is paid to the role and reputation of trade union movements in this crisis. In light of economic stagnation and social need, with the welfare state being suppressed in land after land, the trade union movement is poorly equipped to withstand the pressure for cuts and redundancies. Need has led to liberalisation, the crushing of trade union rights and the emergence and growth of a completely new work-life. In the wake of the international crisis, the “Nordic model” is also under strain.
HALVOR FJERMEROS has travelled extensively in Germany, Great Britain, Spain and Greece and met with people from trade union movements and new social movements. He has seen the labour challenges the opposing powers are faced with in times of crisis at close hand. These countries all have strong labour traditions and each have their own individual development histories of the labour movement – not to mention “winding-up histories” – over the last decade. Could a new orientation be underway?
Halvor Fjermeros (b. 1951) is a Norwegian author, journalist and politician.