Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
It happened so that last year wherever I went there were strikes there.
I spent two months in Greece and I witnessed at least five strikes for different reasons. No one was surprised, impressed by or angry about that. Apparently, for Greeks strikes are a normal reaction to governmental policies. According to my observations, the society is pretty tolerant (sometimes indifferent) to this form of protest although it is used too often (in my opinion).
Then, I went to Bulgaria and at that time the teachers were making an attempt to go on a general strike against the 2006 budget for education. The teachers were presented in the media as money-hungry and selfish people, who were trying to take away from the healthcare, from the pensions of the senior citizens and from all the other social spheres. The overall reaction of the society was very negative. By the way, strikes in Bulgaria are traditionally quite unsuccessful and poorly organized. In my opinion, this is to a certain degree due to the perception in the Bulgarian society that if one is trying to achieve something for oneself, he or she is definitely taking away from the others.
After that, I was "lucky" enough to be in New York during the transit strike. It was definitely not a pleasant experience to walk miles in the freezing cold. And while I didn't have to go to work, the majority of people did. Yet, they were very supportive of the transportation workers even though the city officials were presenting the citizens as victims. I got the impression that New Yorkers, unlike Bulgarians, thought that if the transportation workers achieved something, it would be the basis for improvements for the rest, too. Well, of course, I don't know what the reaction would have been had strikes been a more frequent event in New York (the previous NYC transit strike was in 1981).
Although my comment doesn't have much to do with the German strike in particular, my point here is that in some countries there is a culture for strikes, while in others there is not.
by ccarc on Wed Feb 8th, 2006 at 08:52:01 AM EST

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