Worker protests in post-communist Romania and Ukraine

Striking with tied hands

By Mihai Varga

Worker protests in post-communist Romania and Ukraine


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9112-4
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: July 2014
  • BIC Category: POLITICAL SCIENCE / General, Eastern Europe, Society & social sciences / Demonstrations & protest movements, Politics, Pressure groups & protest movements, POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / European, Politics & government


Worker protests in post-communist Romania and Ukraine is a book about strategies of trade unions confronting employers in difficult conditions. The book's main idea is to study why and how successful forms of workers' interest representation could emerge in a hostile context. The post-communist context makes it difficult for workers and trade unions to mobilise, pose threats to employers, and break out of their political isolation, but even under such harsh conditions strategy matters for defending workers' rights and living standards. The cases studied in this book are 18 conflict episodes at 10 privatised plants in the Romanian steel industry and Ukraine's civil machine-building sector in the 2000s.

This book should be relevant for anyone taking interest in how and to what extent workers can reassert their influence over the conditions of production in regions and economic sectors characterised by disinvestment (of which outsourcing and 'lean' methods of production are instances).


'Varga's book is first and foremost a package of case studies and is excellent in presenting and comparing these cases.'
Teppo Eskelinen, Department of social sciences and philosophy, University of Jyväskylä


1. Theorising transformation from a Labour perspective
2. Labour in Romania and Ukraine. Two approaches to managing worker discontent
3. A theory of Labour strategy
4. Struggles at the Plant
5. Struggles for the Plant
6. Contention in and for the Plant. Emergence and outcomes
7. The difficult road to strategy
Select bibliography
Appendix of interview respondents


Mihai Varga is Senior Researcher at the Eastern Europe Institute, Freie Universität Berlin

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