Strike school brings union organisers, activists and researchers from Eastern and Central European countries to share knowledge about organising and possibilities to employ strike as a tool to pursue social, ecological and economic changes.
Eastern European countries usually have more restrictive strike procedures that demand pre-strike consultations as well as forbid any other strike than that concerning the economic aspects of collective agreement in the workplaces. Strikes are more rare in Eastern Europe than in the western Europe, however, over the last decade there has been a slight increase in the striking hours in most of the countries of Europe. There are new initiatives of union organising in precarious sectors as well as symbolism of striking has been popularized by feminist and ecological movements to promote collective action to fight for women rights or ecological causes.
This meeting will explore new forms of labor organising as well as legal aspects concerning strike laws in Eastern Europe. We are inviting you to share your experiences and methods of organising as well as to discuss the possibilities to gain more freedom for workers and communities to take collective action.
The meeting will take place in Kaunas, Lithuania, on October 26th-29th 2023.
Day programme will take place at KTU Faculty of social sciences, arts and humanities - Mickevičiaus st. 37, room 213.
Thursday dinner, lunches and Saturday closing party will take place at Emma Social Centre, Mickevičiaus st. 35, second floor (entry through inner yard).
Strike school is organised by May 1st Labor Union (G1PS) in cooperation with Rosa Luxemburg foundation and social centre Emma.
Table of contents:
Participation in the event is free of charge. We kindly ask you to register until October 24th, 23:59. For late registration please reach us out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, October 26th
20:00 Welcoming dinner and getting to know each other | Social centre Emma
Friday, October 27th | KTU Faculty of social sciences, arts and humanities
11:00 Opening of the Strike school
Introduction by event organiser Jurgis Valiukevičius
Lecture: Hegemonic decline, geoeconomic restructuring and the crisis of reproduction: lessons for struggles in Eastern Europe | Agnes Gagyi, social researcher and co-founder of the Solidarity Economy Center in Budapest
Discussion: moderated by Inga Popovaitė, PhD in sociology and researcher at KTU
13:00 Lunch break | Social centre Emma
14:00 Lecture: Transnational Union Organizing in Central and Eastern Europe: The Experiences of Baltic Organising Academy, Baltic Organising Alliance and Central Europe Organising Centre | Kairit Kall, lecturer in sociology at Tallinn University
15:30 Panel discussion: Organising in precarious sectors
Moderated by Inga Popovaitė, PhD in sociology and researcher at KTU
Jakub Grzegorczyk, organiser at OZZ-IP (Poland)
Tina Podbevšek, organiser at Cedra (Slovenia)
Jakov Kolak, organiser at RIS (Croatia)
Matevž Hrženjak, PhD student of history and member of Cedra (Slovenia)
Saturday, October 28th | KTU Faculty of social sciences, arts and humanities
11:00 Lecture: Trade unions in Lithuania: between resignation and activism | Inga Ruginienė, President of Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation (LPSK) and vice president of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
12:00 Lecture: When the law follows capital. The right to strike in Poland after 1982 | Katarzyna Rakowska - PhD student at the Department of Sociology and a researcher at the Centre of Migration Research in the University of Warsaw
13:30 Lunch | Social centre Emma
15:00 City tour: Heritage of Kaunas textile industries | tour guide Agnė Bagdžiūnaitė - researcher of gender and labor history, cultural curator and union activist | Excursion starts at Social centre Emma
17:00 Workshop: Contemporary challenges of union organising | Workshop moderator Viktorija Kolbešnikova, member of G1PS office | KTU Faculty of social sciences, arts and humanities
22:00-02:00 Closing party | Social centre Emma
Sunday, October 29th
12:00 Brunch at Social centre Emma. Departure
Kairit Kall | Lecturer in sociology at Tallinn University.
Kairit has participated in multiple international research projects, her main area of research is focused on industrial and labour relations including transnational cooperation of trade unions and labour inspectorates, union strategies and power resources, posting of workers and platform labour. She is also active member of trade union at her university.
Jakub Grzegorczyk | Member of the National Commission of Workers' Iniative (OZZ IP).
Jakub is trade union organiser, co-ordinator of the Education and Training Work Group at OZZ IP and editor of the Workers' Initative Bulletine. Currently he is working as an aircraft mechanic.
Katarzyna Rakowska | PhD student at the Department of Sociology and a researcher at the Centre of Migration Research in the University of Warsaw.
Anti-fascist, feminist, union activist. Her research is focused on the right to strike, practicalities of collective labor relations and strikes, including strikes in feminized professions, trade unions’ strategies and tactics and the political economy of labour struggles.
Jakov Kolak | Jakov Kolak | co-editor of Radnička prava (published by Organization for workers initiative and democratization OWID) and a union organizer in Regional Industrial Syndicate (RIS).
Media outlet Radnička prava (Workers’ Rights) works directly with workers relying on their experiences through the selection of topics or targeted distribution of content. RIS is a general union that is open to all workers in Croatia regardless of their profession. It has union branches in the metal industry, transport, public utilities, shoe making, call centres, nursing homes, and assistants to people with disabilities. Its work is based on principles of workers involvement in decision making and giving support to workers to fight for themselves.
Agnes Gagyi | co-founder of the Solidarity Economy Center in Budapest.
Agnes is a social researcher, working on East European politics and social movements from the perspective of the region's long-term world-economic integration.
Tina Podbevšek | professor of history and geography, political organiser in Cedra.
Tina has been activelly working in Cedra for the past 5 years where she was involved in building new unions in the Slovenian retail, care and culture sectors, namely in the companies Lidl, Spar, Tuš, Ikea, Fresenius/Neforidal, Zasuk and is an experienced labor organiser. Moreover, she has been collaborating with writing and publishing Cedra’s research papers where Cedra’s activities are reflected and theorized and she is also collaborating in establishing Cedra’s educational programme. Tina is also active in the cultural field, she is a member of an informal marxist theater group, where she directed a play based on Howard Zinn’s Marx in Soho, she acted in Emma also based on Zinn, and she was also a part of the team that made an original play about the early day of the communist youth’s resistance against nazi occupation in the city of Maribor in 1941.
Matevž Hrženjak | PhD student of history and a member of Cedra.
Matevž studies socialist theory and participates in various Cedra’s activities in building and stregthening the workers’ movement in Slovenia and collaborating in writing Cedra’s research papers. He has been a collaborator in various projects, connected with the labor movement, workers’ struggles, the spread of atypical, precarious forms of work, participatory democracy and participatory budgeting.
Inga has been elected as the president of the largest Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation for two consecutive terms. Since 2023 Inga was elected as a Vice president of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) wich represent around 85 million workers in Europe. Inga is one of the most visible public figures in Lithuanian media on topics of pensions, workers' rights and labor unions.
Inga Popovaitė | PhD in sociology, researcher at KTU
Inga Popovaite is a sociologist and researcher at Kaunas University of Technology. When she was a graduate student at the University of Iowa (USA), she was an active member in the graduate student union (COGS – UE Local 896). In Iowa, striking is illegal for public sector employees, and the scope for collective negotiation is extremely limited. Inga’s experience in the union’s leadership committee contributed to her personal interest in labor policies and struggles in the US, Lithuania, and other countries.
Jurgis Valiukevičius | organiser at G1PS
Jurgis is one of the staff members of G1PS. He is assisting workers in unionizing efforts at workplace or sector wide initiatives. Jurgis has finished philosophy at Vytautas Magnus University (VDU) and regularly writes articles on labor topics for Lithuanian left media outlets. His research area is labor history and strikes.
Viktorija Kolbešnikova | communication specialist at G1PS, LGBTQ movement activist
Viktorija has finished gender studies at Central European University (CEU). She is one of the curators of Lithuanian queer archive "išgirsti" and team member of queer festival "Kreivės". Viktorija is one of the founder of G1PS union and since 2023 she started working in the union as communication specialist.
Agnė Bagdžiūnaitė | cultural worker at Kaunas Artists House, co-founder of Art Workers' Union (MDPS)
Agnė has finished Labor and Gender studies at Central European University (CEU). Currently she works at Kaunas Artists House as a cultural curator and is one of the active organisers of recently founded Art Workers' Union (MDPS). Over the years Agnė co-founded several informal spaces in Vilnius and Kaunas that were centres for feminist and labor organising. She has done several researches on Lithuanian labor history with a focus on women's work and textile industries.
Date and location
The meeting will take place in Kaunas, Lithuania, on October 26th-29th 2023. The program will take place in several spaces:
KTU Faculty of Social sciences, arts and humanities - Mickevičiaus g. 37, Room 213
Social centre Emma - Mickevičiaus g. 35, second floor (entrance through the inside yard)
The event is open students, union members or activists, workers and other people who are interested in labor movement topics. The program will be in English, however, we will try to arrange translation if needed - let us know about your language needs in registration form.
Fees and registration
The event is free of charge. However, we kindly ask you to register until October 23rd, 23:59. Find registration form below this page. For late registration please contact first the organisers on email@example.com.
We provide accommodation only for the panelists and speakers of the program. However, you can reach out to us in case you need suggestion where to find cheaper accommodation during the days of the event.
The program includes lunches and dinners for all participants. We will kindly ask you to give voluntary donation for the dinners at social centre Emma, however, they are not obligatory.
On any non-urgent questions, write us to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For urgent matter you can contact:
+370 651 57550 (Jurgis)