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Strikes and the power/lessness of the union

Zoran Stojiljković

SEER Journal for Labour and Social Affairs in Eastern Europe, 2019, vol. 22, issue 2, 225-244

Abstract: The aim of this article is to identify, on the basis of an analysis of the causes, course and effects of strikes in Serbia over the last three decades, the mechanisms by which society and trade unions have moved from self-management mythology to the defence of inadequate wages and ‘decent, dignified work’ as the height of their ambitions. The drama of the decay of labour and trade unions, as well as the crisis of society, is presented in three chronologically-related acts. The first describes the process of decay concealed behind the call for patriotism; the second is the democratic introduction of capitalism through ‘predatory privatisation’; and the current, third, act illustrates how neoliberal populism seeks to pacify any resistance among employees and autonomous unions by creating surrogates through political clientelism and party employment. The result has been heroic, but futile, protest actions rooted in despair and located somewhat away from the logic of collective action. The author concludes that change and re-collectivisation remains possible but there has to be a developed strategy and a unity between the actors.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.5771/1435-2869-2019-2-225

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