Date: Mon, 27 Apr 98 08:28:18 CDT
From: (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Denmark On Strike
Article: 33379
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

/** 283.0 **/
** Topic: Denmark On Strike **
** Written 4:06 PM Apr 26, 1998 by in **

Date: 04/25 7:05 PM

On Monday the 27th at 6:00 AM Denmark is going on strike

By Martin Johansen, International Socialists, 25 April 1998

On Monday the 27th at 6:00 AM Denmark is going on strike.

This will be the biggest *official* strike ever involving 400,000+ workers in building, industry and transport. This means that around 10 percent of the total population will be on strike with more to follow, if the strike evolves.

Negotiations between employers and trade unions earlier this spring resulted in a very meagre deal which was _rejected_ by the workers in a (mostly) secret ballot. Around 47 percent of the involved workers participated in the ballot which is far higher than normally (usually less than 30 percent bothers to vote). Around 55 percent voted NO to the deal—which is the more remarkable as the organised left is quite weak. So we are talkning about a *genuine* working class response, partly fostered by a feeling that this is pay-back time given increasing profits in the industry.

And a Gallup a month ago showed that a majority of workers were willing to go on strike if it was necessary (this was well before any organising of the strike had taken place).

The Social Democrat government must be on its heels right now. They would like to end the strike but are dependent on right-wing parties to do this. And in the end of May we are going to have the referendum on the Amsterdam Treaty. Next Friday we will have very big Mayday demonstrations, which undoubtedly will smell of the strike. So the strike could very well spill over into a No in the referendum.

Last time Denmark had a strike like this was in 1985. At that time an official strike was met by the then right-wing government trying to intervene in the strike after just three days. This move was met with a very angry response from workers who made a very effective picket line around the Danish Parliament (which is located on an island in Copenhagen, which made the picket line that much easier and more spectacular). This put a focus on the strike and took many, many more workers on unofficial strike. Around 1 million workers took part in the strike at that time, which virtually paralysized Denmark for ten days. And the strike meant that employers—and governments—until now has been very reluctant to provoke new strikes on that scale.

Political commentators and social scientists in workplace relations has for years declared class struggle for dead and out of place with the modern post-industrial society—these people are in these hours vey busy rethinking their positions. One of the things they have overlooked is the fact that Denmark has retained a very high rate of tradeunion organization—around 85 percent of all workers are organized and the rate has been increasing during the eightiers and nineties. It is this high rate of tradeunioniazation which explains the kind of unified response that we see in the the general strike.

It's very exciting times—the working class is suddenly coming back on stage.

More informations later.

If any of you wants specific informations for articles, papers etc. you are welcome to e-mail me privately

Martin Johansen
International Socialists
tlf: +45 35 37 65 91