Economic and industrial democracy vol:29 issue:4 pages:437-466
Measurement of workers’ militancy has proved empirically to be a difficult task in Belgium. There are diverse traditional indicators and parameters but the interpretations of their extent and national effects are arguable. This article uses the expenditure of the ‘strike fund’ in order to elaborate a measure of workers’ militancy in Belgium. The strike fund data provided valuable information on the cross-sectoral level of workers’ militancy and, thereby, confirmed some evidence with regard to the evolution of workers’ combativeness. The case of Belgium is interesting. Since the1980s, the numbers of strikes have fallen while the level of union membership has
remained one of the highest in Europe. Is the decline of strikes in Belgium an irreversible process? Analysis of the national sector-based data on the strike funds suggests caution in predicting the withering away of strikes. Likewise, new forms of ‘proletarianization’ are developing as the manifestation of a newly emergent industrial conflict.