Triggering Solidarity Actions towards Contingent Workers and the Unemployed. The Point of View of Grassroots Trade Unionists and Labour Activists


Since the 1980s, trade unions have suffered a decrease in membership, public legitimacy and the capacity to achieve their core objectives. Renewal strategies have varied, depending on the national context. Part of them focused on rank-and-file mobilization and social movement unionism. In the Greek context, the academic discussion about the crisis of trade unions took place mainly during the 2000s, but without having an impact within union circles or on union strategies. Additionally, grassroots and rank-and-file unions that adopted a social movement and radical unionism approach, and contested the 'institu-tionalized official' trade unions, remained marginal and their actions were not very visible. The recent fis-cal crisis and the implementation of the Memoranda brought up previous dysfunctions. In a context of in-creasing employment precarity and unemployment, the general position of official trade unions towards contingent workers and the unemployed has been strongly contested, while grassroots rank-and-file un-ions claim a more active role in this area. Given the above considerations, this article focuses on the strat-egies of trade unions towards contingent workers and the unemployed, in the Greek context. Results de-rive from interviews with Greek grassroots trade unionists and labour activists in the framework of the TransSOL (Transnational Solidarity at Times of Crisis) EU-funded program.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v11i1p121

Keywords: Contingent workers; grassroots unions; solidarity; trade unions; unemployed


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