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No, Strikes Are Not Making A Comeback

On the first of May, we celebrate International Workers’ Day, a commemoration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement. One of the ways the labour movement (via unions) impacted society, was through strikes. In the last decades, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease of strikes throughout the world:

These stats go hand-in-hand with the decline of trade unions; according to data from the International Labour Organization, the labour union density (percentage of amount of workers in trade unions vs all workers) has decreased in all major economies. However, workers in The Netherlands have bucked that trend in the last couple of years. According to data published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) today, the amount of strikes surged since 2011 and was at its highest in 2017 since 1989, whereas the labour unions grew thinner and thinner. Although this was quite the headline, looking at the amount of lost working days, this was nothing more than an anomaly. The amount of strikes in The Netherlands have risen over the last seven years, but the amount of one-day strikes was a big part of that: looking at lost working days, the statistics have roughly remained the same. The role unions play in the strikes have remained the same: in eight of the ten cases were part of the strike. In conclusion, although the headlines in Dutch news make you believe that strikes are making a comeback, they roughly remained the same. (source in Dutch)

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