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Industrial action

Industrial action is one of the fundamental means available to workers and their organisations to solve labour disputes and promote their economic and social interests. It can take many forms, from the complete withdrawal of labour for an indefinite period to more restricted forms of collective action in which there is no cessation of work. The right to strike is explicitly recognised in the constitutions and/or laws of many countries. At EU level, the right to strike is enshrined in Article 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The right to collective action by the social partners is also included in the European Pillar of Social Rights.  Eurofound is currently exploring the feasibility of an industrial action monitor. 

Topic

Eurofound research

Eurofound has analysed data collected in 2018–2019 during the piloting of its Industrial Action Monitor (IAM) database. Using cluster analysis, the research classified industrial action in Europe into five categories: 

  • national disputes of interest and rights, sometimes involving different forms of employment
  • extended disputes about collective pay agreements
  • localised disputes about employment problems, working time and restructuring, with short work stoppages
  • localised disputes about workers’ rights and grievances over company policies
  • disputes concerning public policies

Recent updates

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This publication consists of individual country reports on working life during 2021 for 28 countries – the 27 EU Member States and Norway. The country reports summarise evidence on the...

19 Mai 2022
Publication
Other
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În ultimii ani, cu excepția câtorva creșteri intermitente, a existat în general o scădere a acțiunilor sindicale în statele membre. În timpul pandemiei de COVID-19, această tendință a continuat, iar...

7 Februarie 2022
Publication
Research report

Key outputs

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In recent years, apart from some intermittent spikes, there has been a general decrease in industrial action across the EU Member States. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this trend has continued...

7 Februarie 2022
Publication
Research report
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Relative calm on the industrial action front in 2020

Despite the economic turmoil that led to large-scale restructuring in many EU Member States and changes in working conditions for many occupational groups, 2020 seems to have been a quiet...

Article

Eurofound expert(s)

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Mária Sedláková is a research officer in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. She is responsible for drafting overview reports for sectoral representativeness studies, management...

Research officer,
Working life research unit
Publications results (18)

This publication consists of individual country reports on working life during 2021 for 28 countries – the 27 EU Member States and Norway. The country reports summarise evidence on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on working life based on national research and survey results during 2021. They

19 May 2022

În ultimii ani, cu excepția câtorva creșteri intermitente, a existat în general o scădere a acțiunilor sindicale în statele membre. În timpul pandemiei de COVID-19, această tendință a continuat, iar în mod surprinzător, cele mai semnificative conflicte de muncă au avut loc în sectorul sănătății

07 February 2022

This report – the latest in an annual series – describes the main developments in industrial relations and the regulations affecting working conditions at EU level and in the EU Member States and Norway during 2018. Based on data from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents, it presents information

02 October 2019

Annual review of working life 2017 is part of a series of annual reviews published by Eurofound and provides an overview of the latest developments in industrial relations and working conditions across the EU and Norway. The annual review collates information based on reports from Eurofound’s

22 October 2018

Teachers across Europe have been protesting about their working conditions. Pay levels and pay inequalities, working time and workload, recruitment procedures and staffing at schools have been the main focus of social dialogue and collective action. Several of the reported cases are set in the

09 January 2017

Smartphone car service Uber, a successful company example of the sharing economy, has spread to many EU Member States in recent years. However, many employers and unions are concerned about its challenge to fair competition for other businesses in the sector and about the erosion of working

25 January 2016

Air transport has been in the news in recent months as strikes and difficulties in social dialogue across the European Union have strained relations between the sector’s unions and companies. Disputes in the different countries have revolved around pay and working conditions, restructuring and

09 December 2015

Strike activity across the EU dropped in 2014 following a crisis-related peak in 2010. However, evidence from EurWORK correspondents suggests that the more highly unionised public sector has been a focus of industrial action recently. In general, strikes have been triggered by pay freezes and cuts

24 November 2015

Collective bargaining systems in the EU have undergone a steady change since the end of the 1990s. But as businesses across Europe struggle to respond to intensifying global competition, pressure from employers for greater flexibility in collective bargaining is increasing, especially since the 2008

04 November 2015

This article presents some of the key developments and research findings on aspects of dispute resolution in the EU between the first and third quarters of 2014. Changes in the EU Member States’ collective and individual dispute resolution mechanisms are the main focus. The section on 'Extensions of

18 February 2015

Online resources results (504)
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Relative calm on the industrial action front in 2020

Despite the economic turmoil that led to large-scale restructuring in many EU Member States and changes in working conditions for many occupational groups, 2020 seems to have been a quiet year in terms of industrial action. At the time of writing this article, national statistics for 2020 are

United Kingdom: latest working life developments Q2 2018

The social partners’ joint statement on the risk of a no-deal Brexit risk, launch of the first labour market enforcement strategy and a record low for workers’ strikes are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in working life in the UK in

France: latest working life developments Q2 2018

The adoption of labour market reforms, strikes in the transport sector and new leadership among the social partners are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in working life in France in the second quarter of 2018.

Sweden: latest working life developments Q2 2018

A historic agreement on industrial action regulations and a narrowing gender pay gap are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in working life in Sweden in the second quarter of 2018.

Belgium: latest working life developments Q2 2018

Ongoing discussions about pension reform for ‘heavy occupations’, the signing of an agreement in the non-profit sector and strikes in the railway sector are the main topics of this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in working life in Belgium in the first quarter of 2018

Poland: Latest working life developments – Q4 2017

Protests by doctors at public healthcare facilities, delays in trade union legislation, and the government’s hasty removal of the limit on income subject to social security contributions are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in

Slovenia: Latest working life developments – Q4 2017

Positive changes to labour market legislation for the unemployed, amendments to family legislation for fathers, and the announcement of strikes by public sector trade unions for 2018 are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in working

Portugal: Latest working life developments – Q4 2017

Social security arrangements for independent workers, an increase in the minimum wage without tripartite agreement, and continuing conflict at the Volkswagen Autoeuropa car assembly plant, are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in

Greece: Latest working life developments – Q4 2017

The fall in the unemployment rate, combating undeclared work, one-off social benefit payments, initiatives to strengthen social dialogue, and a general strike over the 2018 budget are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in working life


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