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I don't think it's a "national trait", much more like a logical cycle of events.

Workers manage to get some respect through strikes -> things go ok for a while -> someone abuses the right (it always happens) -> rulers fight back -> workers lose right(s), stop organising -> life sucks for a while -> workers get their lesson and start again.

I believe the US situation is now so bad labour-wise, that the working class are slowly learning again that striking is not so bad, and trade unionists are not all power-hungry mafia-type jokes. Same for the UK. It's completely the opposite in ex-soviet countries where certain rethoric has been abused in the past. France and Germany have a more complex situation, with trade unions still technically powerful but in need of internal changes to accomodate new industries. Italy, as usual, is the bottom of the barrel, with a reduced union movement abusing their rights to defend archaic practices and failed companies (see the recent Alitalia case)... to be fair, there are exceptions here and there, desperately trying to fix their problems.

by toyg (g.lacava@gmail.com) on Wed Feb 8th, 2006 at 11:00:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'Going on strike' is something that marked the transitional period of the ex-Yu countries. I am not sure if that's national phenomenon or just one of the alternatives to voice your demands, but it has been ever-present since the disintegration of Yugoslavia.  And, usually the strikes are not very successful for the strikers themselves, but rather for the political parties who rally around them to get popularity. Macedonian case is whenever there is a strike there is some political party that is eager to profit out of it, especially when the strikes are organized in pre-election period.
 I become more willing to believe that 'going on strike' is more national trait than just logical cycle of events. Countries like Germany, Sweden and in general all the Scandinavian countries don't have a history of strikes. Why.. probably because the government and the citizens know how to reach social consensus, unlike the newly born democracies aka. ex-socialist countries which still haven't learn the 'social consensus' lesson.  
France is different story, exception of all  above mentioned.  As Agnesa says, the strikes are so regular that people forget why they were staged in the first place. The French trade unions are well organized and powerful and the strikes are their main weapons of getting what they want. I guess the French will never end their French Revolution. The strikes seem to be the French revolution's offsprings..;)
by pavlovska (transbluency(at)mailcity.com) on Thu Feb 9th, 2006 at 08:28:09 PM EST
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Germany does have a history of strikes, though German strikes usually end much faster with an agreement reached and are less violent or extensive than in France. (I remember when once we had school out pecause our teachers went on strike - for half a day, for the time of a protest rally.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2006 at 05:24:39 AM EST
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Probably we have different criteria of what "history of strike" means. In Macedonia usually the school year starts one month after the scheduled beginning,  because the teachers regularly begin the school year with "one month of strike". This was particularly the case during the last 4-5 years.
by pavlovska (transbluency(at)mailcity.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 02:14:25 PM EST
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