Mobilising Against Austerity: Greek and Portuguese Labour in the Resistance Against Water Privatisation.

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal 16 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Andreas BIELER, School of Politics and IR, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
Jamie JORDAN, School of Politics and IR, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
European capital and governments have used the Eurozone crisis to impose further restructuring onto the EU’s peripheral member states through bailout agreements in exchange for austerity. In addition to cuts in funding of essential public services, cuts in public sector employment; and the undermining of industrial relations and trade union rights through enforced cuts in minimum wages and a further liberalisation of labour markets, this has also included pressure towards privatisation of state assets.

And yet, workers have not simply accepted these restructuring pressures. They have organised and fought back against austerity and enforced privatisation. Set against the background of the structuring conditions surrounding the Eurozone crisis, in this paper, we will critically assess the struggles against enforced water privatisation in Greece and Portugal. We will analyse the dynamics and strategies of labour movements in organising resistance in both countries and compare the different levels of success. The paper is partly based on semi-structured interviews with Greek and Portuguese ‘water activists’.