World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Solidarity action

Article Id: WHEBN0000463276
Reproduction Date:

Title: Solidarity action  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: General union, Strike of the 100,000, Protest tactics, Labor, Community organizing
Collection: Community Organizing, Labor, Protest Tactics, Strikes (Protest)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Solidarity action

Solidarity action (also known as "secondary action" or "boycott" or "sympathy strike"[1]) is industrial action by a trade union in support of a strike initiated by workers in another, separate enterprise. The term "secondary action" is often used with the intention of distinguishing different types of trade dispute with a worker's direct employer, and so may be used to refer to a dispute with the employer's parent company, its suppliers, financiers, contracting parties, or any other employer in another industry.

In most countries there are limits on the purposes for which people may go on strike, and in many English-speaking nations restrictions have been placed on which organisations trade unions may strike against. In the US and UK workers can typically strike against their direct employer only. In continental Europe, solidarity action is generally lawful and the right to strike is seen as a part of broader political freedom.


  • Australia 1
  • United Kingdom 2
  • United States 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


In Australia, secondary boycotts are prohibited by the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.[2] In the 1910s, sympathy strikes were sometimes called in order to extend a strike beyond the bounds of any one Australian state, thus making it eligible for handling by the Federal Arbitration Court.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, sympathy strikes were outlawed by the Trade Disputes and Trade Union Act of 1927 in the aftermath of the general strike. This was repealed by the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act 1946, passed by the post-war Labour Government.

Solidarity action remained legal until 1980, when the Conservative Government of Margaret Thatcher passed the Employment Act 1980 which restricted it. This was followed a decade later by the Employment Act 1990, which outlawed solidarity action entirely. The laws outlawing solidarity strikes remain to this day. In 2005, union leaders in the U.K. called for the legalisation of solidarity strikes in the aftermath of the strike action against the catering company Gate Gourmet but Labour ministers stated that they had no intention of repealing the law.

United States

Because farm laborers in the United States are not covered by the Wagner Act, the United Farm Workers union has been able to legally use solidarity boycotting of grocery store chains as an aid to their strikes against California agribusinesses and to their primary boycotts of California grapes, lettuce and wine. The UFW's secondary boycotts involved asking consumers to stop shopping at a grocery store chain until such time as the chain stopped carrying the boycotted grapes or lettuce or wine.

Secondary boycotting is frequently confused with secondary striking, which is also a prohibited tactic for those labor unions covered by the Taft-Hartley Act. Some legal definitions for secondary boycotting divide it into two different kinds, secondary consumer boycotts as per the above definition of secondary boycotts, and secondary employee boycotts, also defined as a secondary strike.

See also


  1. ^ See H Collins, KD Ewing and A McColgan, Labour Law (2012) 693
  2. ^ Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), sections 45D to 45DD.
  • M Kite and T Freinberg, 'Unions to Challenge Blair Over Ban on Secondary Strikes' (Daily Telegraph, 27 August 2005).
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.