Relative calm on the industrial action front in 2020

Despite the economic turmoil that led to large-scale restructuring in many EU Member States and changes in working conditions for many occupational groups, 2020 seems to have been a quiet year in terms of industrial action. At the time of writing this article, national statistics for 2020 are available in only a few countries; however, several correspondents have reported a clear decline in industrial action. The most significant labour disputes related to COVID-19 occurred in the human health and social services sector, the education sector, and the transportation and logistics sector. Social distancing measures, the fear of job losses in a tense economic environment, deferred collective bargaining talks, the lack of organisation in the most impacted sectors, and strike restrictions on essential services are some of the factors that may explain the low level of industrial action.

This article is one of a series that explores working life issues in the 27 EU Member States, Norway and the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is based on information provided by the Network of Eurofound Correspondents and published as a set of individual country reports in ‘Working life in the COVID-19 pandemic 2020’.

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