The purpose of this blog is to provide analytical commentary on formal and informal labour organisations and their attempts to resist ever more brutal forms of exploitation in today’s neo-liberal, global capitalism.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Corbyn’s Campaign: The story of a remarkable summer.

Only a few months after the Labour Party’s defeat in national elections in May 2015, the socialist, left-wing Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the party’s new leader carried by a wave of enthusiasm in- and outside the party. The book Corbyn’s Campaign (Spokesman, 2016) provides interesting insights in crucial aspects of this campaign and reflects on the possibilities for a socialist renewal in Britain today. In this blog post, I will report on the book launch with three of the authors, Tom Unterrainer, Adele Williams and Tony Simpson, which took place at the Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham on 27 January 2016.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Fighting for Public Water in Europe: The ECI Water is a Human Right.

Jan Willem Goudriaan, General Secretary of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), has written regular updates (see 1, 2 and 3) on where the European Citizens' Initiative  (ECI) Right2Water fits in the broader struggles of the European Water Movement and how it links with the struggle for Another Europe. In this latest guest post, he gives an update following the European Parliament vote on the ECI report.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Argentine elections 2015: a shift to the right and the need for a popular response.

The electoral victory of Mauricio Macri in the recent Presidential elections in Argentina (22 November 2015) signifies a dramatic change in Argentine and Latin American politics. Despite Mauricio Macri's campaign promise to ‘keep the good policies’ of the former center-left government, the reality of the first month in office is strikingly different. In this guest post, Bruno Dobrusin analyses these changes as well as the reasons for, and broader implications of, the turn to the right in Argentina.

Monday, 21 December 2015

After the election of Jeremy Corbyn – Where next for the Labour Party?

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party so shortly after the defeat in the general elections of May 2015 came for many as a surprise. The electoral campaign had not been too far to the left, as Blairites tried to claim immediately after the elections. Party members' and supporters' verdict was that it had not been left and anti-austerity enough. In this post, I will reflect on the chances of Jeremy Corbyn and his Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell of bringing about significant change in Britain.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Is migration from Central and Eastern Europe really an opportunity for trade unions to demand higher wages? Evidence from the Romanian health sector.

The social failures of the eastward enlargement of the European Union can hardly be ignored anymore. Instead of becoming part of welfare capitalism, Central and Eastern European workers’ hopes in a better life were betrayed and social rights have been undermined. In turn, workers, left without industrial and political channels to voice their social concerns, have reacted by leaving their countries en masse (Meardi 2012). Nevertheless, several industrial relations scholars predicted that the balance of class power would soon shift again in workers’ favour, due to the labour shortages in sending countries caused by “workers voting with their feet” (ibid.). Some scholars even saw in the massif exit of CEE workers an opportunity for CEE unions to win higher wages (Kaminska and Kahancová, 2011). By focusing on the distributional aspect of wage policies adopted by two competing Romanian trade unions in the healthcare sector, a recent study by Sabina Stan and Roland Erne published by the European Journal of Industrial Relations challenges the assumption of a virtuous link between migration, labour shortages and collective wage increases. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions at 20: Still strong, still fighting!

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) was established on 11 November 1995. From 11 to 14 November, I participated in the KCTU’s 20 year anniversary International Seminar on ‘Global Workers’ Struggle against Labour Rights Deterioration in the Era of Crisis’ in Seoul/South Korea. The seminar did not only include two days of discussions, but also the official anniversary ceremony, an excursion to the Park of Worker Martyrs as well as participation in the large demonstration against labour market restructuring on 14 November. In this blog post, I will reflect on workers’ struggle against restructuring in South Korea and its connections with global developments.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Why has the European labor movement largely failed to politicize the EU’s new economic governance regime?

The creation of the new European governance regime requires an explanation. In contrast to the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the EU’s business and political leaders rejected until very recently the need for any coordination in the field of industrial relations at EU level (Leonard et al., 2007); arguably because self-regulating market forces would automatically lead to the desired downward adjustment in wages and workers’ rights across Europe. In November 2011, however, the European Parliament and the Council adopted the so-called Six-Pack of six EU laws on European economic governance. This new European governance regime empowers the European Commission to give detailed policy prescriptions to national governments and to sanction member states. In this post, Roland Erne introduces his recorded lecture explaining why the European labor movement largely failed to politicize the EU’s new regime of economic governance.