Have Europe’s unions had their day?

September 27, 2010

Here in Europe, as spending cuts bite ever deeper, you might expect people to have taken to the streets in their thousands and be up in arms, in defence of the hard-won rights that this round of austerity is threatening. Some are, but not in anything like the numbers they have been in the past. With a Europe-wide day of action coming up on Sept 29 that may change…

But, so far at least, the most remarkable thing has been just how tame the strikes have been, how ineffective the unions look. Why is it that? Are Europe’s unions less powerful? Or less relevant? Sarah Morris in Spain and Gavin Jones in Italy found a host of reasons why young and old today are not rallying to the cause — and not just that they’re scared of losing their jobs.

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