Five years after the global financial crisis, and trillions of dollars in stimulus spending later, the crisis not only remains unresolved, but risks entering a new deeper phase in southern Europe. The global turbulence, although experienced with differing degrees of intensity and dislocation
around the world, manifests as high unemployment, industrial slow-down, extensive austerity measures and a range of health and financial pressures passed on to working and unemployed people. One response by governments has been a renewed emphasis on ‘skill’ as a means to work through
the crisis and reposition the national economy for a post-crisis world. This paper questions this emphasis suggesting that if skill is the answer then the wrong question is being asked. The concept of ‘fixes’ is used to examine changes in production and work, before discussing
the limitations of organized labour’s response to the crisis. The crisis poses questions to the labour movement about its understanding of the changes taking place in the economy, and therefore work, and the alternatives it could be advocating for new less crisis-prone ways of governing
the production of goods and services, and the education that might support that.