European Workers Issues

Over 1,000 Ryanair cabin crew and pilots strike in Germany

By our reporters, 13 September 2018

While the workers are fighting for wage increases and better working conditions, the trade unions want to cut a deal with Ryanair as quickly as possible.

In new cost-cutting move, PSA subcontracts Opel operation in Germany

By Marianne Arens, 13 September 2018

The subcontracting of research and development operations in Rüsselsheim is another significant step towards the dismantling of Opel.

Trades Union Congress in Britain silent on anti-Corbyn coup plot

By Robert Stevens, 12 September 2018

The TUC crowed that this year’s congress marked the 150th anniversary of its founding, but not one platform speaker even referred to the attack on the leader of the Labour party established by the unions.

Britain: No-confidence motions passed against leading Blairite MPs

By Paul Mitchell, 8 September 2018

The Blairites have no compunction about defying Labour members and will only go if they are forced out.

Vehicle crashes claim lives of 16 migrant workers in Italy

By Allison Smith, 17 August 2018

The deadly vehicle crashes—caused by sheer greed for profit at the expense of the labourers—are linked to the extremely right-wing course of the government in Rome.

UK National Health Service pay deal fuels growing rebellion against unions

By Ajanta Silva, 13 August 2018

More than 1,000 health workers signed a petition calling for the current leadership of the Royal College of Nursing to stand down.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

Railworkers strike in UK while Iranian rail strike continues

10 August 2018

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Ryanair faces largest pilots’ strike in its history

By Marianne Arens, 9 August 2018

On Friday, simultaneous strikes against Ryanair will take place in several European countries. While workers’ anger has grown, the unions are doing everything to isolate the strike.

The Ryanair strike and the resurgence of international class struggle

By Robert Stevens, 8 August 2018

The class struggle is reaching a higher stage of development, posing strategic issues before every section of the international working class.

NHS trade unions’ “best deal in eight years” revealed as a fraud

By Ajanta Silva, 4 August 2018

Health workers are expressing outrage as the truth about the latest union sellout comes to light.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

4 August 2018

Some 10,000 footwear workers in south Africa are in the third week of a bitter strike over wage demands.

Ryanair’s mass sacking threat raises need for globally coordinated struggle of airline workers

By Steve James, 2 August 2018

The role of the unions in the airline and other industries is to isolate any struggle, impose the demands of the companies and prevent a unified fight of the entire working class.

German Ryanair pilots ready to strike

By Marianne Arens, 1 August 2018

Every Ryanair pilot who voted cast his or her ballot for strike action, but the Cockpit trade union is seeking to collaborate with management.

UK: South Western Railway conductors to strike over Driver Only Operation

By Tom Holling, 26 July 2018

South Western Railway is Britain’s busiest commuter train network and transports more than 4 million passengers a week in and out of London Waterloo.

French presidential scandal: Mélenchon defends the riot police

By Francis Dubois and Alex Lantier, 24 July 2018

Mélenchon was careful not to appeal to anger among workers and youth at the arbitrary police violence captured in a viral video of a presidential aide assaulting protesters.

Sheffield Supertram workers hold 72-hour strike, as strike ballot in Manchester begins

By Laura Tiernan, 23 July 2018

A fight is only possible if workers break free from the grip of the Unite union, whose strategy consists of dividing workers on a company by company basis.

Sheffield residents voice strong support for Supertram workers’ strike

By our reporters, 23 July 2018

On Saturday, campaigners from the Socialist Equality Party distributed a statement in support of the Sheffield Stagecoach Supertram workers, revealing strong support among workers, young people and pensioners for the strike.

Strike by South African footwear workers as South African and Nigerian telecom workers walkout

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

21 July 2018

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Auto parts workers strike in Germany

IG Metall accepts mass redundancies and plant closures

By Marianne Arens, 18 July 2018

The IG Metall union has long since abandoned the factory in Leipzig.

As Jeff Bezos’ wealth reaches $150 billion

Unions strangle strike efforts by European Amazon workers on Prime Day

By Will Morrow and Genevieve Leigh, 17 July 2018

Prime Day is treated as a virtual public holiday by the corporate media, akin to Black Friday, but it is synonymous with increased exploitation for Amazon and other shipping workers.

French auto giant PSA announces new cuts at Opel

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 7 July 2018

The PSA board intends to sell off large parts of the International Technical Development Centre (ITEZ) in Rüsselsheim, threatening the jobs of thousands of technicians, engineers and developers

Austria: 100,000 demonstrate in Vienna against labour “reforms”

By Markus Salzmann, 5 July 2018

Last Saturday saw the biggest demonstration in the Austrian capital since the 2003 protests against pension reforms.

Europe’s unions pledge unity with big business as trade war escalates

By Robert Stevens, 30 June 2018

While framed around Brexit, the underlying impulse of the joint statement between the union federations and business groups is the developing trade war between the United States and the European Union.

The British UCU Congress and the impossibility of reforming the trade unions

By the Socialist Equality Party (UK), 26 June 2018

Events at the University and College Union prove that the union bureaucracy is unanswerable for its actions and unaccountable to its members.

Rolls-Royce to shed nearly 5,000 jobs in the UK

By Barry Mason, 21 June 2018

Instead of a campaign to mobilise its 22,000 members employed by Rolls-Royce to fight the cuts, Unite will facilitate whatever restructuring the company demands.

Thousands of jobs to go as UK retail chains rationalise operations

By Barry Mason, 13 June 2018

The latest threats to retail jobs come on top of mounting closures and retrenchments in the retail and food industry.

Germany: IG Metall union and works councils agree to job and wage cuts at Opel

By Dietmar Henning, 2 June 2018

The union and works councils have signed up to almost every demand of PSA boss Carlos Tavares and Opel chief Michael Lohscheller.

As French airport workers and Iranian lorry drivers strike, class struggle spreads in Africa

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

1 June 2018

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General strike in Greece against Syriza’s latest austerity package

By Robert Stevens, 31 May 2018

The stoppage, nearly the 50th general strike since 2010, saw transport and services in Greece grind to a halt.

Over 10,000 jobs at risk at Deutsche Bank

By Gustav Kemper, 31 May 2018

Germany’s crisis-ridden Deutsche Bank has already slashed 6,000 jobs and closed 188 branches in the past few years.

French rail workers demonstrate after voting against Macron’s privatization

By Alex Lantier, 28 May 2018

A class gulf separates growing working class militancy from the unions’ attempts to negotiate a deal with President Macron’s anti-worker government.

“Human Wave” rallies protest austerity in France

By our reporters, 28 May 2018

The protests took place in nearly 200 cities, according to protest organizers, with 250,000 people participating across France.

Trade unions in lock step with the German government

By Ulrich Rippert, 16 May 2018

The unions act as company police, intimidating workers and developing their own rationalization plans.

French students blockade universities in struggle against selective admissions

By Guillaume Garnier, 15 May 2018

After the March 22 protest of rail and public workers against the privatisation of railways, students launched a movement to blockade universities across France.

The referendum at SNCF: The unions seek to strangle French rail strike

By Alex Lantier, 12 May 2018

The referendum on Macron’s reforms being prepared by the unions for May 14-21 represents a dead-end for railway workers.

Defying the trade unions, Air France workers vote to reject contract

By Alex Lantier, 8 May 2018

Workers defied not only threats from Air France and the government, but also from the union bureaucrats, who demanded that they approve the contract.

French rail workers, teachers protest Macron’s social cuts

By Anthony Torres, 5 May 2018

Rail workers and high school teachers on strike Thursday spoke out against the social cuts and military spending proposed by President Emmanuel Macron.

Germany: IG Metall union sabotages workers’ struggle to defend jobs

By Ulrich Rippert, 27 April 2018

Opel auto workers in Germany are confronting corporate management’s demand for massive cuts in jobs and wages combined with a drastic deterioration of working conditions.

French students, workers march in April 19 protests against Macron

By Anthony Torres, 21 April 2018

The first protest of strikers from multiple professions since November 2017 took place amid spreading blockades of universities by students opposed to Macron.

German public service union closes ranks with the government

By Marianne Arens and Christoph Vandreier, 20 April 2018

The contract deal presented by unions and employers’ associations on Wednesday after a third round of negotiations is a slap in the face to Germany’s 2.3 million public service workers.

University and College Union sells out UK lecturers strike

By Robert Stevens, 18 April 2018

It was to demobilise opposition to its rotten deal with the employers that the UCU cut the number of universities due to walk out this week, before suspending strike action altogether

“Berlin is Burning”: Berlin firefighters’ campaign of resistance raises political issues

By the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei, 18 April 2018

The protests by Berlin firefighters are part of a growing international mobilisation involving teachers, railroad and other workers.

Anti-academy schools protests in UK curtailed by trade unions

By Tom Pearce, 17 April 2018

Any strikes called by the teaching unions, as a way of maintaining control over the anger of staff at the consequences of becoming academies, are being confined to a few single schools.

German public service strikers fear sell-out

By Marianne Arens, 13 April 2018

Public sector workers are demanding real change. However, many fear a sell-out by their union, Verdi.

Strikes in Germany’s public sector as anger mounts over wages and working conditions

By our reporters, 12 April 2018

Amidst a broad mobilization of worker throughout Europe, the unions are doing everything in their power to suppress this anger and prevent a genuine struggle.

Students protest against Macron as strikes against austerity mount in France

By Johannes Stern and Alex Lantier, 11 April 2018

All over the country, students are occupying campuses and holding general assemblies and demonstrations.

Strikes mount as National Assembly opens debate on French rail privatization

By Alex Lantier, 10 April 2018

Air France workers are taking strike action today over wage demands, after rail workers mounted a fourth day of rotating strikes yesterday.

As the unions continue talks with the government

French rail workers, students resume strike action against Macron

By Kumaran Ira, 9 April 2018

The trade unions are coordinating with the Macron government to contain the rail workers’ strike movement against the planned privatisation of the French National Railways.

UK: Metropolitan Police admit role in construction blacklist

By Paul Bond, 7 April 2018

As police admitted involvement in the blacklisting of building workers, around 60 campaigners and victims walked out of the Undercover Policing Public Inquiry, angered over a continuing cover-up.

Teachers across the UK vote for industrial action

By Thomas Scripps, 4 April 2018

Representing the vast majority of teachers in the UK, the votes are a response to the catastrophic conditions prevailing in primary and secondary schools across the country.

Germany: Public service trade union announces extension of protest strikes

By Ulrich Rippert, 4 April 2018

Verdi is responding to growing anger and militancy among public employees, who refuse to accept staff reductions and increased workloads while their wages stagnate or decline.

Vote “No” to University and College Union sellout of UK lecturers pension strike

By Robert Stevens, 29 March 2018

The University and College Union’s Higher Education Committee voted to put an inferior pensions’ offer from Universities UK to a ballot, in the face of lecturer’s opposition.

The UK Further Education strike: Lessons of the lecturers’ revolt against the University and College Union

By the Socialist Equality Party (UK), 27 March 2018

The attacks on Further Education staff are central to the Conservative government’s plans to turn education over to the private sector.

Major protests against French President Macron’s austerity measures

By Kumaran Ira, 24 March 2018

The strikes and protests express the social opposition that is developing against the Macron government.

Attend online and call-in forum March 27

The way forward for UK lecturers after the revolt against the University and College Union

24 March 2018

The Socialist Equality Party (UK) is hosting an online and call-in forum for lecturers, college staff, other education workers and students on Tuesday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m.

No to talks with Macron on the privatisation of French railways!

For a political struggle against austerity and militarism in Europe!

By Alex Lantier, 22 March 2018

Workers taking part in a nationwide strike in France on March 22 are confronted with an international political struggle.

Spain’s Amazon workers call first ever strike at Madrid hub

By Alejandro López, 19 March 2018

For more than a year, Amazon has been negotiating with the unions to impose a new agreement that would drastically reduce workers’ rights.

The role of the UCU Left in the effort to shut down the UK lecturers strike

By Robert Stevens, 17 March 2018

From its formation, the UCU Left pledged to work with the right wing within the UCU leadership, and has served to suppress opposition and bolster the authority of the unions.

UK: Lecturers and students speak on struggle to fight savage pension cuts

By our reporters, 17 March 2018

WSWS reporters spoke to striking lecturers and students on picket lines and at rallies Thursday and Friday in London and Glasgow.

UK lecturers resume strike following rebellion against UCU sellout agreement

By Robert Stevens, 15 March 2018

From the beginning of the dispute, the SEP has insisted that the UCU is not an organisation fighting in the interests of workers. It is a tool of management and, as with all the unions, cannot be reformed through rank and file pressure.

UK university lecturers revolt against union sell-out agreement

By Robert Stevens, 14 March 2018

Thousands protested nationally and hundreds of lecturers lobbied outside the union’s headquarters in London Tuesday to demand rejection of a deal reached the previous evening.

“I’m delighted with the voices of solidarity from West Virginia”

Students and lecturers at the University of Aberdeen speak about the issues in the strike

By our reporters, 14 March 2018

Members of the IYSSE spoke to students and striking lecturers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland about the issues in the lecturers’ struggle.

Striking UK lecturers speak out to denounce attempted UCU sell-out: “I’d like to see the membership taking control more as it has done today”

By our reporters, 14 March 2018

World Socialist Web Site reporters interviewed striking lecturers at an all-day protest of several hundred lecturers, students and university workers outside UCU’s headquarters in North London.

Argentine teachers, public workers unions call another limited strike

Workers Struggles: The Americas

13 March 2018

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Britain: 15,000 jobs in retail and leisure under threat, as jobs go throughout economy

By Richard Tyler, 10 March 2018

The high street retail and leisure sectors have been impacted by uncertainty over the consequences of Brexit and online shopping.

UK lecturers speak in support of West Virginia teachers

By our reporters, 7 March 2018

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to striking UK lecturers and other university staff during the first two days of this week’s four-day strike in Leeds, Glasgow and Manchester.

French unions negotiate rail privatization with Macron government

By Anthony Torres, 2 March 2018

The unions and the Macron government plan to discuss for two months how to implement the EU-mandated opening of French railways to private competition by privatizing the SNCF and gutting the rail workers’ statute.

UK university lecturers, college staff and students hold joint protest in London

By our reporters, 1 March 2018

The rally followed the previous day’s talks during which the union signalled its intention to capitulate by offering further concessions over pensions.

The UK lecturer’s dispute and the marketisation of higher education

By Thomas Scripps, 1 March 2018

The attack on university lecturers is one element in a far advanced programme aimed at the destruction of higher education as it has been known for decades.

Skoda workers in the Czech Republic prepare to strike

By Ulrich Rippert, 1 March 2018

The strike preparations at Skoda are part of a growing radicalisation of workers in Eastern Europe, who are no longer willing to accept conditions of extreme exploitation.

French President Macron turns his labor decrees against rail workers

By Alex Lantier, 28 February 2018

On Monday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced plans to end the French rail workers' statute and privatize the French National Railways.

UK lecturers stage second day of national strikes

By Robert Stevens, 24 February 2018

In contrast to the stand by lecturers and students, the University and College Union has insisted that the strikes give way as soon as possible to resumed negotiations.

Lecturers and students stage united protests in Sheffield and Southampton

By our reporters, 24 February 2018

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to lecturers and students at universities around the UK.

Air France workers strike to demand pay increase

By Anthony Torres, 23 February 2018

Rejecting a miserable sweetheart contract negotiated by a group of trade unions closely allied to management, Air France workers took strike action yesterday.

Amazon set to open new depot in Sheffield—“low pay capital of the UK”

By Danny Richardson, 20 February 2018

Sheffield and its surrounding area was previously a major steel producing region with Amazon building its “Fulfilment Centres” in the South Yorkshire area on shuttered steel plants.

UK “gig economy” worker’s death tied to no sick pay, no sick leave

By Margot Miller, 17 February 2018

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, five million people are employed, either full or part-time, for courier firms, minicab apps such as Uber or takeaways such as Deliveroo.

IG Metall union shuts down strike by hundreds of thousands in Germany

By Christoph Vandreier, 7 February 2018

The suppression of the strike paves the way for the formation of a grand coalition government that will slash workers’ wages and benefits to pay for military rearmament.

Half a million metalworkers participate in strikes in Germany

By our reporters, 3 February 2018

On Friday, the all-day warning strikes in the metal and electrical industries culminated with hundreds of thousands of workers on strike.

French workers support growing mass strikes in Germany

By V. Gnana and Alex Lantier, 3 February 2018

“If we support their struggle today, they will support our struggle tomorrow,” said a day laborer working multiple jobs in Paris.

German industrial workers shut down auto sector as strikes spread

By our reporters, 2 February 2018

Workers in the automotive and electrical industries are striking for a third consecutive day for higher wages and the voluntary reduction of the workweek.

“Our job is like working in a slaughterhouse”

French retirement home workers strike to defend elderly, working conditions

By Anthony Torres, 2 February 2018

In an unprecedented event on Tuesday, workers at retirement homes (Ehpad) across France overwhelmingly followed calls for strike action.

Tens of thousands of German industrial workers on strike

By our reporters, 1 February 2018

Up to 500,000 workers are participating in one-day strikes in Germany’s automotive and electrical industries, the largest strikes in the sector for 15 years.

Hundreds of thousands of industrial workers strike in Germany

By Peter Schwarz, 31 January 2018

Germany’s biggest strike wave in 15 years is another sign that 2018 will see an intensification of class struggle internationally.

German industrial workers poised to launch massive strikes

By Dietmar Henning, 29 January 2018

Due to the militant atmosphere in the plants, the IG Metall union was compelled against its wishes to break off the fifth round of collective bargaining talks in Baden-Württemberg.

Germany: IG Metall greets far-right AfD participants at union protest

By our correspondents, 23 January 2018

The reactionary orientation of the union was most evident when an IGM functionary greeted the participation of the far-right AfD on the demonstration.

Carillion collapse in UK leaves pension scheme deficit of £2.6 billion

By Robert Stevens, 22 January 2018

A Sky News investigation revealed that Carillion’s debts and pension liabilities were almost double the amount initially cited.

UK: The political lessons of Carillion’s collapse

By Julie Hyland, 17 January 2018

When CEOs, accountants, regulators and governments are all implicated in such events, it is not the corruption of a single corporate entity that is at issue, but the capitalist profit system itself.

UK: Carillion collapse threatens jobs and pensions, exposing plunder of social assets

By Julie Hyland, 16 January 2018

There are reports of banks shifting Carillion off their balance sheets over the last months in anticipation of its inevitable folding.

The merger of Germany’s Thyssen with Tata Steel

Vote “No” on union-backed steel contract! Defend all jobs!

By the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei, 16 January 2018

The Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei calls upon steelworkers at ThyssenKrupp to reject the contract negotiated by the IG Metall trade union and to take measures to prepare a struggle to defend all jobs.

German industrial workers continue strikes

By Ulrich Rippert, 13 January 2018

The IG Metall trade union is increasingly concerned by the unrest and radical atmosphere in the plants, but has indicated its readiness to compromise and reach a sell-out deal.

Greek workers stop work in opposition to Syriza anti-strike and austerity measures

By Robert Stevens, 13 January 2018

Strikes shut down the Athens rail system, ships were unable to sail, and state-run hospitals were forced to rely on reserve staff.

160,000 industrial workers strike in Germany

By Peter Schwarz, 11 January 2018

Amid widespread anger over social inequality and corporate job-cutting, there is a growing determination to fight for improvements in wages and working conditions.

French automaker PSA colludes with unions to prepare mass job cuts

By Alex Lantier, 10 January 2018

PSA Peugeot-Citroën is slashing jobs across Europe and in France, where it is using provisions of President Emmanuel Macron’s antidemocratic labor decrees.

French chemical industry unions back contract violating minimum wage laws

By Alex Lantier, 8 January 2018

Backed by the European Union, President Emmanuel Macron is using his labor decrees to try to scrap basic social rights won by the working class.

Volkswagen plans to dismiss all temporary contract workers in German plants

By Dietmar Henning, 8 January 2018

VW’s mass firing of temporary contract workers is the prelude to sweeping job cuts and attacks on the gains of all autoworkers.

UK rail workers continue strikes against Driver Only Operated train plans

By Michael Barnes, 8 January 2018

As dangerous incidents begin to escalate, the rail companies and the Tory government refuse to retreat in their war against conductors’ jobs.

UK workers confront rising job losses in 2018

By Tony Robson, 8 January 2018

At no point have Unite, GMB, the retail workers union, USDAW, or any other, even mooted a fight in defence of a single job.

Regional transport workers strike in Netherlands

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

5 January 2018

A 24-hour strike involving some 12,000 workers hit bus and train service on Thursday in the Netherlands to demand better pay and working conditions.

Macron turns France’s labor decrees on auto workers

By Alex Lantier, 29 December 2017

The announcement of mass layoffs by Europe’s second-largest automaker is part of a relentless international assault on workers' jobs, working conditions and social rights.

Israeli workers protest job cuts

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

29 December 2017

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.