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Strike action, also called labor strike, on strike, greve, or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became important during the Industrial Revolution, when mass labor became important in factories and mines. In most countries, strike actions were quickly made illegal, as factory owners had far more political power than workers. Most western countries partially legalized striking in the late 19th or early 20th centuries. Strikes are sometimes used to pressure governments to change policies. Occasionally, strikes destabilize the rule of a particular political party or ruler; in such cases, strikes are often part of a broader social movement taking the form of a campaign of civil resistance. A notable example is the 1980 Gdańsk Shipyard strike led by Lech Wałęsa. This strike was significant in the long campaign of civil resistance for political change in Poland, and was an important mobilized effort that contributed to the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of communist party rule in eastern Europe. (via Freebase)