The 2008 global financial crisis and the subsequent Eurozone crisis triggered dramatic changes in European labour relations. Unemployment and precariousness increased considerably. This was further exacerbated by austerity measures, leading to declining minimum wages and layoffs in the public sector. These structural changes varied considerably by country but collectively pose challenges to organized labour as they confront neoliberal restructuring. Concurrently, recent social struggles continue to develop with unemployed and precarious workers playing a major role as protest actors.
Focusing on the triangular relationship of precariousness, trade unions and social movements, this book draws on a range of exciting cases, both comparative and country case studies, in order to understand how the shadow of the crisis still haunts organized labour in Europe. The chapters in this collection each offer a unique perspective on how the results of the crisis, in Western, Southern and Eastern Europe, are leading to a variety of new social movements as a consequence of increased precariousness and also how trade unions are attempting to respond.
Introduction: Confronting Crisis and Precariousness in the European Union, Stefan Schmalz, Raúl Lorente, Antonio Loffredo, Johanna Sittel and Brandon Sommer / 2. Precariousness in Europe: Causes, Effects and Resistance, Klaus Dörre / 3. The Competitive Architecture of European Integration: the European Division of Labour and Locational Competition, Stefanie Hürtgen / 4. Nuit Debout and Labour: France’s Mobilization against the Neo-liberalization of Labour Law, Karel Yon / 5. Italy: Precariousness and Trade Union Strategies after Post-Crisis Labour Market Reforms, Giovanni Orlandini and Giulia Frosecchi / 6. The End of the German Model? Labour Conflicts in the German Service Sector, Karina Becker, Yalcin Kutlu and Stefan Schmalz / 7. Are Trade Unions in Portugal Trapped? Precariousness, Work and Detachment, Elísio Estanque, Dora Fonseca, Hermes Augusto Costa and Andreia Santos / 8. No Break from Austerity and Labour Deregulation: Left-wing Crisis Management in Greece, Geoff Kennedy and Maria Markantonatou / 9. Labour Protests in Eastern Europe, Joachim Becker / 10. Precarity and Counter-movements in the European Semi-peripheries: The Case of Poland, Adam Mrozowicki / 11. Precarious Environment: European Trade Unions in a Time of Crises, Steffen Lehndorff / 12. Spatialities of Precarity: Young People in the Southern Mediterranean, Jörg Gertel / 13. Conclusion: The Failure of Progressive Social Movements as the Breeding Ground for the Far Right?, Stefan Schmalz and Brandon Sommer
Brandon Sommer is Researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague.