Supply Chain Workers Worldwide Lead Protests

Supply Chain Workers Worldwide Lead Protests
Several fists held up to the sky representing labor protests. | Image by oatawa, Getty Images

From train drivers threatening a strike in the UK to trucker drivers holding a nationwide strike in Peru, labor protests across global supply chains have given empowered workers the leverage to demand better working conditions.

According to a new Bloomberg writeup, macroeconomic pressures have led to labor protests at critical distribution channels like railways, trucking sites, airlines, warehouses, and ports.

“There’s a very tight labor market, so that puts workers in a position where they have both an accumulation of lots of grievances” and a feeling of empowerment, said Eli Friedman, associate professor at Cornell.

Labor protests in other countries have erupted, including construction and railway workers in Canada, shipbuilders in South Korea, and dock workers in Germany, as well as in many other places.

Threats to U.S. distribution channels include a looming 115,000-person railway strike and a possible port shutdown due to 22,000 expired contracts for West Coast dock workers.

The combination of pandemic-induced supply chain shocks and macroeconomic pressures such as growing unemployment, rising interest rates, increasing inflation, and uncertainty in the foreign exchange market has put enormous strains on ordinary workers who struggle to stay afloat during periods of economic unrest.

“Global supply chains weren’t calibrated to deal with a crisis like the pandemic,” said Katy Fox-Hodess, an employment relations lecturer at Sheffield University Management School in the UK. “Employers have really pushed that crisis onto the backs of workers.”

According to Cornell University, roughly 260 labor strikes were reported, involving 140,000 employees last year. This culminated in approximately 3.27 million strike days.

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1 Comment

  1. caseyp

    It’s basically the Democrats in charge who have caused shortages blaming everybody else. It’s typical. Democrats will never admit when they are wrong or take responsibility for their mistakes. They always blame somebody else.


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