European Labour and the Struggle Against Austerity

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:15-15:45
Location: Hörsaal 16 (Main Building)
RC44 Labor Movements (host committee)

Language: English

Since the onset of the Eurozone crisis, austerity has been increasingly pushed across the European Union (EU). The so-called Troika of Commission, European Central Bank and IMF imposed austerity directly on Greece, Portugal and Ireland in exchange for bailout packages. Nevertheless, the new economic governance structure around the Six Pack and Fiscal Compact has extended austerity to the other EU member states too. This also includes Eastern European members like Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary among others, which have experienced huge pressures for austerity. 
Austerity has had a dramatic impact on European labour movements, partly because it has implied high unemployment and drastic cuts to income and working conditions of their members, partly because it often signified a direct attack on established trade unions rights. More broadly, it also included pressures to privatise public utilities and services. And yet, workers and trade unions have not simply accepted cuts and privatisation, but started to fight back. This is also expressed in Syriza’s electoral success in Greece. 
This session is intended to bring together papers with a focus on different responses, different strategies of resistance to austerity by European labour movements. “Labour movement” has to be understood here in a broad sense beyond the formal sector and official trade unions as institutional expression, including also informal workers and different organisational forms of workers’ unrest. Papers can engage with particular labour movements, sectoral trade unions or struggles based on broader alliances between trade unions and social movements.
Session Organizers:
Andreas BIELER, Nottingham University, United Kingdom, Richard HYMAN, London School of Economics, United Kingdom and Philippe POCHET, European Trade Union Institute, Belgium
Richard HYMAN, LSE, United Kingdom
Mobilising Against Austerity: Greek and Portuguese Labour in the Resistance Against Water Privatisation.
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 Trade Unions and the Defense of Public Services
Christoph HERMANN, University of California, Berkeley, USA
The General Strike of November 2012 and Anti-Austerity Protests – Evidence from the Portuguese Case
Lídia FERNANDES, Faculty of Economics – University of Coimbra – Portugal. Researcher at Dinamia'CET-IUL, Centre for Socioeconomic Change and Territorial Studies, Portugal; Hugo DIAS, Institute of Economics - State University of Campinas, Brazil
Can Austerity Also Aggregate? Discourses and Responses of Trade Unions and Socio-Occupational Actors
Hermes COSTA, University of Coimbra, Faculty of Economics, Center for Social Studies, Portugal; Elísio ESTANQUE, University of Coimbra, Portugal; Hugo DIAS, CESIT, Unicamp, Brazil
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