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I read on Wikipedia, translated with Google Translate:

[During a "grève du zèle"], employees stick to performing their duties by applying their description and all regulations to the letter, in order to slow down their execution as much as possible.

"Grève du zèle" is the expression used in French for this type of strike.

What's the proper expression in English to designate this type of strike where employees stick to performing their duties by applying their description and all regulations to the letter, in order to slow down their execution as much as possible?

(NB: from the same Wikipedia page, the term slowdown designates a different type of strike)

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2 Answers 2

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Wordreference.com offers

(UK) work-to-rule
and
(US) slowdown

As a US resident, I am familiar with slowdown.

I think work-to-rule means insisting on strict adherence to any available regulation or rule that would allow delaying matters.

wordreference.com grève du zèle

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    I have heard "work-to-rule" in the US, as well as "slowdown." They are not the same thing, at least not literally; they may be synonymous or close to it in common speech. "Grève du zèle" translates as "zealous strike," I imagine relating to the fervor with which workers apply the strict letter of the rules.
    – randomhead
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 1:59
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This is not specific to strikes, but we do have the term malicious compliance, which Wikipedia defines as “ the behaviour of intentionally inflicting harm by strictly following the orders of a superior while knowing or intending that compliance with the orders will have an unintended or negative result.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malicious_compliance

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