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(en) End of Danish strike

From "Anarchist News Distribution (Platform )" <platform@geocities.com>
Date Thu, 28 May 1998 17:11:00 +0100
Organization http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/inter.html


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Background: Regular reports were being posted
on the Danish mass strike that saw nearly 500,000
workers out on strike for over a week.  Unfortunatly
as common with such disputes they tailed off without
explaining how it ended.  These reports are at
http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/A-Infos98/denmark_may98.html

The item below although a little bit old explains how
the strike ended

May 12

On Thursday, May 7th, the Danish Parliament
passed a law to put an end to the 11 day long
strike of 500,000 private sector workers. The
main demand of the workers had been the
concession of an extra week paid holidays a year
(toghether with the 35 hour week and a decent
wage increase).

The strike had been solid for two weeks and was
hitting the Danish economy hard. Transport of
goods was completely paralysed and there were
food shortages (made even worse by the lock out
declared by retail sector employers).

At this point the socialdemocratic-led coalition
government intervened with a law conceding two
days extra holiday and three days extra holidays
for workers with children under 14. These
concessions will only affect workers who had
been for more than 9 months with the same
employer, thus leaving a large number of workers
without any real gains. At the same time the law
reduces the amount of the increase in pensions
contributions by the employers and withdraws a
new sick leave levy of 325 krone per worker
which the employers were supposed to pay. Thus
in effect the cost of the extra days holidays is
being paid by the workers themselves and by the
government.

On Thursday, there was a meeting of shop
stewards, mainly from the Zealand region (where
Copenhagen is located) but also from the rest of
the country. At the meeting with more than 1000
shop stewards the proposal was raised of calling
for a national protest demo against the
intervention of the government and also of the
need to answer the government intervention with
an extension of the strike to the public sector.
These proposals were greeted with enthusiasm but
the chair managed not to put them to the vote.
After the meeting some 20,000 workers
demonstrated outside the parliament.

Left with no clear lead of what to do next most
workers went back to work on Monday 11 (the
first working day after the government's
intervention, as Friday was a holiday).
Nevertheless, despite the fact that the strike
had been made illegal by the government's
decission, on Monday in many workplaces meetings
were held and the decission was taken to go back
home as a protest. This was the case in the
massive building site of the bridge between
Denmark and Sweden, at the shipyards in Odense
and many other workpalces all over the country.
The protest movement was specially strong in
Aalborld, the forth biggest city in Denmark and
a strongly industrialised place, where there was
a demonstration with about 2000 workers. A small
demonstration also took place in Copenhagen.

Other groups of workers decided to stop their
financial support for the Socialdemocratic party
as a form of protest, as was the case with the
Copenhagen airport workers. In general there is
a strong feeling of anger against the government
for its intervention. This will undoubtedly be
reflected in the forthcoming referendum on the
Amsterdam Treaty on May 28th. It will also have
an effect on the negotiating round for the local
wage deals. which could proof very bitter.
Frustration on the part of the workers is
specially strong because of the feeling that,
had the strike lasted for another week, they
could have easily won.

Source : socappeal@easynet.co.uk

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