Italy. The struggle of GKN workers in Florence, between worker self-organising and social mobilisation
Lorenzo CINI, Francesca GABBRIELLINI, Giacomo GABBUTI, Angelo MORO, Benedetta RIZZO, Arianna TASSINARI
This article traces the struggle of the workers of the GKN factory in Florence against its closure and relocation. Having detailed the main stages of the dispute, the article examines three fundamental aspects: union organisation inside the factory and its capacity to reinforce the independent activism resources of workers; the workers’ ability to mobilise the surrounding social fabric and form alliances with other social movements; and, finally, the contribution of the university and research sectors to drawing up a reindustrialisation plan for the site.
Keywords: Italy, relocation, labour dispute, labour movement, trade unionism, automotive industry, industrial policy.
Vietnam. The 2019 Labour Law: independent workers’ representative organisations
Anne Ngoc COX and Stéphane LE QUEUX
The 2019 Labour allows for the establishment of workers’ representative organisa-tions (WROs), independent from official trade unions, something unprecedented since the Communist regime. This reflects widespread endemic industrial conflict marked by illegal wildcat strikes led by unofficial workers’ representatives in the absence of effective union representation. Now that the legislation sets out a legal perimeter for WROs, at equal footing with unions albeit bound to the local level, we discuss the constraints that may hinder their future development.
Keywords: Vietnam, trade unionism, Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, independent workers’ representative organisations, Labour Law, wildcat strike.
Belgium. Exiting the pandemic with no change to wage suppression
Bernard CONTER and Jean FANIEL
In 2017, the centre-right federal government hardened the legislation governing biennial interprofessional negotiations. Unions complain of an intolerable curb on wage increases, while bosses consider the legislation vital to keep businesses compe-titive. Despite calls for more social justice from the outset of the pandemic, union mobilisations, and the return of leftist parties to government, this framework has yet to be revised.
Keywords: Belgium, interprofessional agreement (AIP), Law of 19 March 2017, wages, Covid-19.
Austria. The wage negotiations of Autumn 2021, between union offensive and a weakening of coordination between sectors
After two decades in which strong coordination of sector-specific annual wage nego-tiations led to wage deflation, the 2021 autumn bargaining round marks a break with that trend, made possible by the contrary motion of the two major sectors. In metalworking, strongly combative unions have been able to extract significant wage increases, creating a knock-on effect. Meanwhile, in the services sector, the collapse of the leading role traditionally played by the trade sector has allowed several sectors to secure above-inflation increases.
Keywords: Austria, sector-level bargaining, autumn bargaining round, wages, infla-tion, metal industry, commerce.
United Kingdom. Unions and the challenges of the “green revolution”
In the face of government policy, unions, while still committed to the goal of a green transition, are demanding that other factors be considered, and that they be included in the design and implementation of programmes. The challenge they face is one of a poorly managed transition creating winners and losers among their members. Wi-thin the unions, varying priorities emerge across different sectors, leading to differing practices. Ultimately, threats to jobs constitute the main spur to mobilisation. This contrasts with the ambitious societal rhetoric developed by the TUC.
Keywords: United Kingdom, green transition, green revolution, unions, Trades Union Congress (TUC), employment.