In today's world, a workers' uprising that goes beyond trade unions may become a cause for a grass-roots social-revolutionary movement based on self-organization. For those trying to bury the working class it is worth recalling some recent events: an armed uprising of miners in Asturias (Spain), a workers' uprising in South Africa (even a workers' council – a central strike committee – was set up, bringing together the strike committees of various mines). But all of these revolts were killed by trade unions. The same thing happened to the rather militant strikes in Greece and France in the past decade. Strikes in South Korea more than once or twice grew into factory seizures and armed conflicts with the police, but each time the movement was stopped by union officials who were looking for compromise and usurped the negotiations with the authorities and the owners.
Integrated into the systems of capital and state, accustomed to legal and comfortable existence, the union bureaucracy will never allow a labor movement to transform into a revolutionary one. Unearned income gained by means of workers, negotiations and collective agreements with business, lawsuits and litigation are the foundation stones of union bureaucracy. No one has ever voluntarily given away power and privilege.
Paradoxically, the efforts of trade unionists are meaningless in the modern world from the point of view of trade unionism itself. Capital is no longer interested in compromise. Unions are probably able to improve the conditions of a small part of workers for a short time. At the same time, they cannot stop the neo-liberal attack. Tadeusz Poto, one of the leaders of the European Trade Union Confederation, writes about this in his research notes. The union functionary names a number of factors that has contributed to the weakening of trade unions. Among them are: the control of the official political parties, clamping down on trade unions in legislation, the destruction of the normal employment contract of indefinite duration and the growing use of temporary workers. All this undermines workers' traditional solidarity and diffuses the working class. But the primary influence on the situation in the labor movement was the "liberal offensive of the past 25 years on the whole. Leaders of trade unions capitulated completely, succumbing to the internal logic of the liberal economic policy ... Working conditions have changed dramatically. During the 1980s in Germany, 80% of workers had normal working conditions, that is, a full-time job and a permanent contract, while all other forms of work, such as part-time, short-term contracts, casual earnings, were very rare. Temporary employment practically did not exist. Today, only 50% of workers have normal working conditions, and the figure is decreasing. The growing figure is first of all the number of workers with part-time work and temporary contracts."
The trade union movement can not reverse neoliberalism and doesn't even try to do it. All that it can do is to cling to the remnants of its privileges. That is why it becomes a brake whenever there is an opportunity to turn workers from reformists into revolutionaries. Besides, the unionist division between workers on permanent and temporary basis, legal and illegal migrant workers makes the international unity of workers impossible.
The only possibility for a social revolution in the modern world, in developed countries, lies in the demolition of trade unions, and then replacing them with councils formed during the struggle. The destruction of trade unions by a directed social explosion from within is the key to the development of the workers' revolutionary movement. As long as the unions control the workers, nothing can be done.