Have you ever participared in a labour strike, or would you?

I've always worked in a company with a tradition of "social peace" and a good dialogue between emloyer and workers associations :D

But: both in Belgium, where I live, and in France there are plenty of strikes for the moment. Major economic damage is the result.

I'm totally against strikes... we see workers assications motivate their members to have a "fighting spirit" instead of promoting dialogue and diplomacy :o
So... are we in favour of, or against strikes and have we ever participated? Really curious to see the final poll result!

  • Strongly against.
    17% (4)26% (8)22% (12)Vote
  • Can understand they're necessary but I'm not really in favour
    17% (4)13% (4)15% (8)Vote
  • I'm rather in favour
    35% (8)39% (12)37% (20)Vote
  • No strikes is no results...
    31% (7)22% (7)26% (14)Vote
And you are? I'm a GirlI'm a Guy

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Most Helpful Girl

  • I live in France. Honestly, even with the labor law reform, the laws are still very protective of employees and labor unions. The latter don't like dialogue and diplomacy. They love protesting *automatically* whenever employers elaborate policies of any kind, even when they are necessary for the survival of the economic activity of corporations.

    If I were an employee, I would only participate in a strike after truly understanding the pros and cons/what is a stake with new legislation and policies.

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    • *at stake

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    • Thanks for MHO :) It's true that the unions are still rioting and upset. At this point, the new labor laws will be passed with substantial modifications or they will not be passed at all. And then, here in France, there is a possibility that the Minister of Labour and the Prime Minister will resign...

    • It would be sad! In Belgium, the government and the direction of the railway company have decided not to negotiate anymore. The worker have ridiculous "obtained rights" from the past that simply need to disappear.
      If it were my decision: create a new railway company with normal salary and working conditions and restart from scratch!

Most Helpful Guy

  • I'd have been fired if I had done it.
    That happened to others, elected union representatives included. Yes, it did cost severance payments but stopped all strikes.

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    • Yeah, here in the U. S people are a tiny bit more hesitant about that.
      Its probably because in the 20th century workers got tired of the beatings and firings and the murderers so they decided to take guns with them on the protest and it spiraled and there was a shooting war between coal mines wanting to unionize and pinkertons hired to put them down and hte national guard got called in.
      Me, I only wish they killed more pinkertons

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    • a local office of a multinational

    • If only we could fire them Jacques... especially those who sabotaged the trains and rails today!
      Most helpful is all yours!

What Girls Said 5

  • Yes I walked two miles to and from school when I was in kindergarten and third grade, and stood with the bus drivers when they were on strike

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    • I can indeed imagine that when they had a very good reason I'd also support them.
      The main problem here in Belgium (and France) is that people abuse the right to strike and shut down an entire country to protect the interests of a few :o
      And often these rights are about ridiculous "obtained rights" like 40 to 50 days of vacation :-(

  • I would have to actually do labor to understand labor strikes.

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    • Have you never had a job so far? Because you're a student, or other reason?

  • I have not, but am part owner of our family bussniess. We can't go on strike cause our livestock needs 24/7 365 care. There are no days off.

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    • Thats a little different, strikes are most effective against big companies and factories.

    • I admire your hard work, good job!

    • @Waffles731 yeah, but constant good dialogue often creates goodwill between employer and workforce and also towards the customers and works better in the long term :D

  • Most times when strikes happen the employee's never get the lost wages back.

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    • In Belgium they do, to some degree. They get just over 30 EUR per day of strike.
      Paid with our tax money, would you believe it? :-(

  • I have not but if it was really unfair conditions, I would

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    • I can imagine, that's what strikes are for... but some use them so routinely it's ridiculous :-(
      We have about 2 railways strikes a month... unbelievable.

What Guys Said 15

  • I'm from Switzerland and like it most of western Europe, we have pretty strong unions. However, contrary to France (or also Germany), we have very few strikes. To be honest, I can't even remember the last big strike. Things like in Germany, where you couldn't use trains anymore for 2 months or so because the whole German railway was on strike nationwide don't happen here. I can't exactly pinpoint where this difference comes from though. In the case of France, it certainly has a lot to do with tradition and mentality. French people LOVE to strike. It's become part of the French culture to go on strike once in a while ;-). One of the reasons Switzerland doesn't experience a lot of strikes is probably that we have a particularly strong culture of bilateral agreements and compromises. For example we don't have any legal, national minimum wage. And yet, wages are very high compared to most other countries. The reason for this is that unions make individual agreements with the companies of each "branch" of industry (for example an agreement with retailers, an agreement with IT companies, an agreement with construction companies etc.). The advantage of this system is that both sides, the unions and the employers can talk directly with each other (and thus understand each other better) and find a compromise that works well for that particular field of labor (instead of a one-size-fits-all solution like a national minimum wage).
    Another reason for our lack of strikes - though this is just a guess - might be that things generally work very smoothly in Switzerland. Wages are high and unemployment low. This means that most people are pretty satisfied. Strikes tend to become more common when things look dire and the economy is failing (like in France).

    Personally, I find strikes a completely legitimate means to achieve fair labor conditions. I understand the people in France or Belgium or Germany who strike. However, I believe there are better ways to get what you want (at least sometimes).

    Personally, I am still a student, so I have never participated in a strike. However, I consider myself a socialist and thus I usually participate in the traditional May 1st march (labor day for Americans).

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    • I agree with you, and I wanted there were as few labour strikes with us as in Switzerland... some people do politics through labour strikes. Ridiculous :-(

  • Labor unions are nothing but destructive in my opinion. They aren't much more than legalized mafia. They represent the greed of men and women. They would destroy the very company that they work for , for a raise when they are making far more an hour that the vast majority of other citizens who in most cases work a harder job. I am all against unions

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    • So u don't believe in workers' rights at all, and that workers should just be "grateful" to the employers and not bite the hand that feeds them?

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    • Leg breaker was just a dud

    • Maybe that's a little exaggerated but they are like a mafia when they refrain from dialogue (which they do in many companies) and open the fights... also when they're totally wrong :-(

  • Strongly in favour should also be an option.
    Businesses get the unions they deserve.
    The most prosperous and egalitarian time in Americn history was from the end of WW2 to the early 70's when Reagan started the process of destroying the labour union movement. Today the US has a vast and growing chasm between rich and poor with all the attendant abuses of wealth and power.
    Strikes are inconvenient but there must be balance to ensure a truly egalitarian society.
    Ditto for Thatcher and th British labour union movement.

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    • I can live with your opinion - keeping strikes possible for the worst case situations :D

  • I've never been part of a union and never would. They're one of the most crooked organizations on earth. People are understanding this too. In 1960, 40% of Americans were part of a union. Now, it's around 9%. I haven't worked for other people much anyway. I've mostly owned my own businesses.

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    • Yeah, my opinion comes close to yours. Except when the unions stick to healthy dialogue with the employer.
      Fortunately in the company where I work, they do. We're an exception.
      But what happens in Belgium and France these days is criminal. It harms so many people and may soon cost jobs :-(

    • Yeah, in my state, we're not union friendly at all. The owner can basically veto a union vote but even if couldnt, just shut down the business and reopen a week later with a slightly different name and rehire the good employees. The person that owns the business should have total say. It's his business, his money, his ass on the line so he needs to do what's in the best interest of his business which in turn is also good for hard working, loyal employees. I've owned businesses and none were big enough to to have a union anyway but I would not allow it in my business. I feel theyre an extension of my home and I'd feel violated just as much in my business as in my home if an outside source was able to control every aspect of either one. I'd shut down the business totally or move to another state before I allowed that. That would REALLY be good for the employees. Plus, I'd not give good references if I was forced into a bad situation for the employees that pushed it.

  • I would never participate in a strike. Fuck that. If an employer pays you this amount of money, they're willingly giving you money and you should be grateful and abide by their rules. Suddenly, you have to go along and change their rules? BS. Just quit, if you don't like it.

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  • Id love to get involved in a worldwide strike. Let the whole stinking system grind to a halt and take back control. Youd have the scum in uniforms harassing you at every turn at the behest of the wankers in suits in charge but itd be worth it. We need that. Every day we work we hand in money into the big pot to be stolen by the politicians to give to the elite

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    • Goodness, what a fantasy... sounds like the scenario of the ultimate thriller!

    • Its not a fantasy pal. Its true. This is whats really happening in the world. Politicinas are bought and paid for in the west. Corporations pay lobbyists to sway domestic and foreign policy. Why do you think special interest groups contribute so much to campaigns. Its fancy bribes. Its covered up by the media who are owned by the same people buying favours in the corridors of power. A minister or a senator or a congressman gets a set civil service pay amd a fixed tenure. They get offered private sector jobs after thei terms worth 10 times as much in salary just so theyll play ball whilst in office. The politicians dont serve the people they serve business. Its there in black and white most decisions serve the rich and ignore the masses. you're just like the rest mush. Blinded by a lifetime of propaganda. Politicians give away billions anually from the treasury for private enterprise. Rails are privately owned yet the public pay for the infrastructure. Thats just an example. The biggest

    • Spongers in society aren't the people on welfare or benefits, the media just point the blame at them. Its the top earners who have their hand in the cookie jar. The west is more corrupt than anything the roman empire ever achieved. I can't believe you've got to 40 and still believe all the bullshit. there's no such thing as democracy. The west is a plutonomy. Its just like the class wars from centuries past just carefully hidden behind a veneer of equality. Its ignorant people like you that gives it its power.

  • I think they can be destructive and counter productive when run badly or too much power is given to them. Like most things balance and compromise are key. I think when confronted with a problem all options should be considered, and so saying “you should never strike" (or never go to war) is handicapping yourself.

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    • Indeed... and in Belgium and France the workers unions have more to say than the directions of companies. They even try to do politics through strikes. So ridiculous and close to criminal since the interests of many people are badly harmed :-(

  • Human beings have a voice, and in today's corporate culture that voice gets silenced way too easily and often. So I 100% support the promotion of organized labor.

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  • why are you against strikes? historically speaking its the only time corporations and the government ever listen. i think its normal to strike, its the only social power we have left as a worker. im also Belgian

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    • I sincerely hope the government will not listen... since the unpayable "obtained rights" of some categories of workers need to undergo some major reforms.
      Look at what a judge did when a small workers union of the police force went to court. He cancelled all these ridiculous advantages of one category of people.
      I can understand people strike when they're treated badly. But the "preventive strike" was invented in Belgium :-(

    • And, do you think blocking roads, hitting police officers, destroying property or dancing on the rails like drunken jerks is also part of the right to strike? 8)

    • you always have these individuals. for all that we know they could be hired by the government to make strikers look bad. its due to the bad economy and government inaction that it has come to striking.

  • there was a strike with Hostes when the company was going through alto of money problems because it was close to bankruptcy the worker decided lets go on strike and basically anally fucked hostes losing the jobs for millions.

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    • I recognize it... I remember an almost bankrupt company here in Belgium and a famous workers union leader standing on a pile of pallets "CAMARADES, ON VA GAGNER" (friends, we will win!).
      2 weeks later the story was over and all of them were unemployed, the naive workers unions "fighters" included!

  • Yes, I have.
    I joined the union the first day that I began work.
    Solidarity, brothers.

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    • You're one of the first... but no problem, I asked for opinion so all opinions are welcome :D

  • Being against unions and strikes is being against democracy

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    • Yes, except if people abuse strikes for political reasons... like saying you're striking since you want the government to fail :o

  • I have some years ago. It was because they were going to take all of out insurance away.

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  • Strikes are pretty much the only power the people have in a capitalist system.

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    • Yeah but when workers unions are diplomatic and keep a good contact with employers, they get much more done. For one reason: dialogue and diplomacy create goodwill. And that works far better than fighting :D

    • Strikes can be peaceful too. Even then, diplomatic negotiations with people who have much more power and money than you are somewhat one-sided.

  • Fellow Belgian here, I immediately knew you were from the area. This shit is extremely annoying.

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