What Does Strike Mean World History?

The term “strike” is a potent and compelling word that has become synonymous with worker protests and industrial action. It is a term that has been used throughout history to signify the refusal of workers to work, either as a form of protest or as a way to demand better working conditions or wages. In this article, we will explore the meaning of the strike in world history.

The Origins of the Strike

The origins of the strike can be traced back to ancient times when workers would refuse to work as a form of protest against their employers. However, it was during the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries that strikes became more common and more organized.

During this period, workers were often subjected to poor working conditions, long hours, and low pay. The emergence of factories and mass production led to an increase in the number of workers who were exploited by their employers. Strikes became an effective way for workers to demand better treatment from their bosses.

The First Modern Strike

The first modern strike occurred in 1806 when Scottish weavers refused to work on their looms until they were paid higher wages. This strike was significant because it was one of the first instances where workers banded together to demand better treatment from their employers.

Trade Unions

Trade unions played a crucial role in organizing strikes during this period. These organizations brought workers together and gave them a voice. They negotiated with employers on behalf of their members and helped organize strikes when necessary.

The Rise of Socialism

The rise of socialism in the late 19th century also played a significant role in the development of strikes. Socialists believed that capitalism was inherently exploitative and argued for worker control over production. Strikes became an essential tool for socialists to advance their cause.

Strikes Today

Today, strikes continue to be an essential tool for workers to demand better treatment from their employers. In many countries, workers have the legal right to strike, and it is a recognized form of protest.

However, strikes can also be controversial. They can disrupt the economy and cause significant inconvenience to the public. Employers often respond to strikes by hiring replacement workers or by outsourcing jobs overseas.


In conclusion, the strike has a long and rich history in world history. It has been used as a tool for workers to demand better treatment from their employers and has played a significant role in the development of labor rights. While strikes can be controversial and disruptive, they remain an essential part of our democratic society.