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Why Has Strike Activity Increased Recently Compared With The Past - Essay Example

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Workers’ strikes had won labour not only economic and democratic gains, but most importantly, the power to negotiate with employers and government authorities. Through strikes workers were able to force their employers to negotiate; through strikes they were able to pressure governments to change polices to their favour…
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Why Has Strike Activity Increased Recently Compared With The Past
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Download file to see previous pages As Cohn (1993, p. 8)states, ‘employers usually raise wages as a result of economic pressure’. Such power of strike comes from its paralysing effect, which is detrimental to the interest of capital and to the economy, because lost hours means lost profits and lost profits could mean lost revenue to the government. Aside from its adverse economic effect is its adverse political effect, which cannot be ignored, because of its possible ripple effect [loss of confidence of foreign investment]. Thus unsurprisingly, employers and governments had vehemently refused to recognise strike as workers’ legal course of action in airing their demands/grievances. And even when strike was finally recognised as among the right of workers, it was loaded with requirements. For example, for a strike to be protected [legal] the workers’ issue must be strikable and the strike conducted should follow the prescribed procedures (Jordan et al. 2009, p. 72). Contrary to employers’ desire, this has further strengthened the labour movement. As defined, ‘strike is an organized collective work stoppage undertaken by employees to pressure their employer or employers into meeting their demands’ (Dictionary of American History 2003, par. 1). ...
For example, student strikes, which are generally characterised by the refusal of organised students to attend their classes, have left their indelible marks in history –Among the most notable are the student strike of 1970, which had successfully mobilised universities against US aggression in Vietnam and Cambodia and had also successfully transformed the institutional structure of the academy (Katsiaficas 1987, p. 127); the Athens Polytechnic uprising in 1973 which led to the successful downfall of the Greek military junta of 1967-1974 (Panourgia 1995, p. 32); the 2005 Quebec student strike, which opposed the Charest government’s policies of tuition fee deregulation and reduction in student grant funding (Lawrence 2006, p. 10). In the past, especially during the industrial revolution when workers were much needed and much exploited en mass, strikes had been the best found weapon of workers to fighting for their rights to be recognised, such as the right to be unionised, the right for humane working conditions, the right for decent wage, and more. Thus incidences of strike activity were unsurprisingly high. To bring their employers to the negotiating table, workers have to be unionised; to be recognised as union, workers have to hold a strike; for their strike to be successful, workers union has to be strong. As such, the improved conditions of labour have been largely attributed to the rising power of organised labour, Cornwall (1994, p. 31) says. Following the historical evolution of the labour movement and the recognition of its right to strike with its corresponding improved labour condition, two assumptions can be reached: first, that strike activity is more likely to increase when the economy is in downturn and that strike activity is less ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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