European Workers Issues

CGT union tries to block general strike against French labor law

By Alex Lantier, 30 May 2016

On the BFM-Politique show, CGT General Secretary Philippe Martinez said he was in back-channel talks with the government over its unpopular labor law.

Amid strikes, French President Hollande pledges to impose labor law

By Alex Lantier, 28 May 2016

Hollande is manoeuvring to use the trade union bureaucracy to contain social anger among workers against his reactionary labor law reform.

The El Khomri law in France and the Schröder-Blair Paper

By Peter Schwarz, 28 May 2016

Over the past decade and a half, the social democratic parties, working with the trade unions, have led the drive to impose austerity on the working class.

Greece's Syriza government imposes harsh austerity measures

By Christoph Vandreier, 27 May 2016

Eurogroup finance ministers have made clear they will accept no way of dealing with the Greek debt crisis other than continuing attacks on the working class.

Rail strike hits Belgium

By Ross Mitchell, 27 May 2016

Rail workers began an indefinite strike Wednesday evening in Belgium, paralysing mass transit and creating traffic jams in Brussels.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

27 May 2016

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Strike wave against austerity spreads in France, Belgium

By Kumaran Ira, 26 May 2016

Police repression of anti-austerity protests in France and Belgium is enraging workers and driving broader layers of the working class into struggle.

Mobilize European workers to defend French strikers!

By Alex Lantier, 26 May 2016

The most powerful ally of workers struggling against pro-austerity governments in France, Belgium and Greece is the European and international working class.

The Brexit referendum, socialism and the European working class

By Julie Hyland, 26 May 2016

The following is a speech delivered to public meetings by Julie Hyland, assistant national secretary of the SEP, on the Party’s campaign for an active boycott of the referendum on the UK’s membership in the European Union.

International finance capital and the strikes in France

By Nick Beams, 25 May 2016

The aim of the “structural reforms” demanded by the IMF and the financial elites is the destruction of all the social gains of the European working class won in the past seven decades.

Belgian prison wardens strike met with government repression

By Ross Mitchell, 25 May 2016

The government plans to shrink the public sector by 20 percent, with pay and staffing being cut by 10 percent by 2020 overall.

Oil workers mobilise against French labour law

By Kumaran Ira, 23 May 2016

The Socialist Party is sending riot police to break up refinery strikes as they cause fuel shortages across France.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

20 May 2016

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French government backs neo-fascist protest against opposition to labor law

By Alex Lantier, 19 May 2016

Wednesday’s protest, organised by a police union close to the neo-fascist National Front, was aimed at intimidating broad popular opposition to the Socialist Party's labor reform.

Wage deal in Germany: IG Metall agrees to end industry-wide contracts

By Dietmar Henning, 16 May 2016

Industry heads are enthusiastic about the deal that allows individual corporations to be released from wage contracts when profits are lower than desired.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

13 May 2016

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Protests erupt in France against regressive labor law

By Alex Lantier, 12 May 2016

Protesters clashed violently with police and sacked the headquarters of the ruling Socialist Party in several cities across France.

Volkswagen board pockets €63 million in 2015

By Dietmar Henning, 10 May 2016

Despite the exhaust emissions scandal and record losses, the nine members of the VW Executive Board were paid €10 million more in 2015 than the previous year.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

6 May 2016

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Volkswagen works council and IG Metall back executive bonuses

By Dietmar Henning, 2 May 2016

While thousands of workers are losing their jobs due to the emission scandal, top executives are reaping huge bonuses.

Workers and youth in Amiens speak out against French labour reform

By Antoine Lerougetel, 29 April 2016

A WSWS team spoke to protesting youth who unanimously criticised the strategy of the trade and student unions as insufficient to struggle against the labour reform.

German public sector union holds “warning strikes”

By Marianne Arens, 29 April 2016

Selective strikes are taking place in the public sector across Germany this week, but the Verdi union is determined to impose attacks on wages and work conditions.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

29 April 2016

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In run-up to labour law protest, French rail workers stage one-day strike

By Stéphane Hugues and Alex Lantier, 28 April 2016

The trade unions, seeking to block the entry of workers into struggle against the labour law reform, organised no meetings or protests on the strike day.

Vast increase in “zero-hours” labor contracts in the UK

By Edwin Wills, 28 April 2016

Under zero-hours contracts, workers must be ready to work whenever required.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

22 April 2016

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Steel producers summit threatens stepped-up trade war against China

By Robert Stevens, 20 April 2016

The focus of the Brussels summit on the global steel crisis was “promoting structural adjustment” through job losses, deregulation and trade war measures against China.

Refugee deaths in the Mediterranean: An imperialist crime

By Peter Schwarz, 20 April 2016

Thousands of deaths by drowning are accepted, if not welcomed, as collateral damage required by the campaign to keep desperate refugees out of Europe.

VW hands out massive bonuses to company executives

By Dietmar Henning, 18 April 2016

The granting of bonuses to executives at VW illustrates how management is reacting to the exhaust emissions scandal, which has resulted in losses and potential fines.

People’s Assembly demonstration promotes Corbyn’s anti-austerity fraud

By Paul Mitchell, 18 April 2016

Large numbers of junior doctors currently involved in industrial action took part in the protest, which also included student nurses and steelworkers.

Conflicts over European financial policy point to coming attacks on workers

By Alex Lantier, 16 April 2016

Criticisms by German officials of easy-money policies at the European Central Bank were bitterly denounced by British, French, and US media and politicians.

Belgian air traffic controllers launch wildcat strike at Brussels airport

By Robert Stevens, 14 April 2016

The working class throughout Belgium and Europe must come to the defense of the striking air traffic controllers, who have taken a courageous stand against attacks on retirement.

Steel day of action: IG Metall, employers and German government demand trade war

By our correspondents, 13 April 2016

The German metalworkers union IG Metall organised the rallies as a backdrop for management and government representatives to demand protective tariffs and trade war measures against China.

UK: Unions work with asset stripper to impose cuts at Tata Steel

By Robert Stevens, 13 April 2016

Plants will be taken over only on condition that wages, conditions and pension rights are decimated.

French police attack demonstrators protesting anti-worker labor law reform

By Alex Lantier and Stéphane Hugues, 11 April 2016

The decision of the trade unions and their political allies not to call workers on strike alongside protesting students left the PS government free to assault the demonstrators.

Junior doctors face political fight to save National Health Service

By Paul Mitchell, 7 April 2016

Junior doctors have demanded more effective action after Health Secretary Hunt announced he would impose a new contract by August 1.

Hundreds arrested as French police assault student protests against labour reform

By Alex Lantier and Senthooran Ravee, 6 April 2016

Police are trying to intimidate youth in the run-up to the next major protest by workers and students, on April 9, amid rising anger with austerity and the state of emergency.

Youth and workers in Marseille speak out against austerity

By Anthony Torres, 6 April 2016

WSWS reporters in Marseille discussed with youth and workers who mobilised yesterday against the El Khomri law.

The working class in France mobilizes against austerity

By Alex Lantier, 4 April 2016

The attempt to promote hysteria over terrorism to suppress popular opposition is failing in the face of a growing radicalization of workers and youth.

UK Tata Steel operation at centre of escalating trade war

By Robert Stevens, 4 April 2016

The Labour Party and the trade unions have responded to the planned closure of Tata Steel’s UK plants with demands for protectionism and trade war.

French workers, youth defy state of emergency to protest austerity policies

By Anthony Torres, 1 April 2016

As many as 1.2 million people participated in demonstrations Thursday across France against the draconian anti-working class policies of the Socialist Party government.

Forty thousand jobs threatened as Tata Steel announces end of UK operations

By Robert Stevens, 31 March 2016

Neither Labour leader Corbyn nor the trade union bureaucracy proposes any struggle by steel workers in defence of their jobs.

Germany’s Deutsche Bahn to slash 2,100 rail freight transport jobs

By Dietmar Henning, 29 March 2016

Works councillors and union functionaries have already indicated they are prepared to cooperate in implementing the cuts, the first step to a further wave of consolidations.

UK Junior doctors dispute at a crossroads

Statement by NHS Fightback

29 March 2016

The imposition of a draconian contract on 55,000 junior doctors is a test case for restructuring employment conditions for the entire workforce of the National Health Service.

UK dockers strike suspended by Unite union

By Steve James, 25 March 2016

From the start, Unite made clear that it sought nothing more than good relations with Forth Ports to carry forward their shared interests.

200,000 jobs threatened by Norway oil industry crisis

By Ellis Wynne, 24 March 2016

Norway’s ruling elite insists that the relatively high wages in the oil industry be slashed.

Germany: Siemens cuts another 2,500 jobs

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 18 March 2016

Siemens management announced the cutting of a further 2,500 jobs on March 9, with motor plants in Bavaria being hit hardest.

French government, trade unions rework reactionary labor reform

By Anthony Torres, 17 March 2016

The unions and the Socialist Party want to channel workers’ opposition to the most unpopular government since World War II behind minor changes to its hated reform.

Glasgow City Council workers strike against cuts and poverty wages

By Steve James and Minnie Watson, 17 March 2016

Another round of spending cuts imposed by the Scottish National Party government on behalf of the Conservative central government is likely to cost as many as 15,000 job losses.

English National Opera chorus to strike

By Margot Miller, 15 March 2016

The action was announced on the steps of the headquarters of Arts Council England.

Workers, students march against French labor law reform

By Alex Lantier, 14 March 2016

The brutal police crackdown in Lyon underscores that, under cover of the state of emergency, the Socialist Party aims to illegalize constitutionally protected protests.

Striking cashiers and dockers interrogated under French state of emergency

By Anthony Torres, 10 March 2016

The unprecedented attack on the right to strike is yet another warning of the anti-working class character of the state of emergency imposed by the Socialist Party.

Mass layoffs at Bombardier hit Germany

By Dietmar Henning, 10 March 2016

In Germany, the works council and IG Metall trade union are working hand-in-glove with management to implement job cuts.

UK energy firms rake in profits as “fuel poverty” escalates

By Emily Wilson and Robert Stevens, 9 March 2016

In recent years, the annual profits of British Gas averaged £584 million.

Bombardier adds to Northern Ireland manufacturing jobs massacre

By Harvey Thompson, 1 March 2016

The corporation announced that 1,080 jobs would go at its plant in Belfast, Ireland, which makes the wings for its new C-Series plane.

Strike at 200 Further Education colleges in England

By Margot Miller, 27 February 2016

Some Further Education staff have suffered a reduction in pay by as much as 17 percent after years on lower than inflation pay rises.

French labor law reform sets stage for historic attack on workers’ rights

By Francis Dubois, 22 February 2016

The impact of this reform is being compared to that of epoch-making attacks like the Hartz IV reforms in Germany or the breaking of the PATCO union in the US.

Portuguese government prepares second austerity package

By Paul Mitchell, 22 February 2016

The Eurogroup welcomed the commitment of the Socialist Party/Left Bloc/Communist Party coalition to comply with the EU’s austerity demands.

European Steel unions demand trade war in Brussels

By Dietmar Henning, 20 February 2016

The European trade unions, led by Germany’s IG Metall, demonstrated last Monday in Brussels for trade war measures against Russia and China.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

19 February 2016

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

Government to impose contract on junior doctors after second England-wide strike

By Robert Stevens, 12 February 2016

The government’s unprecedented and authoritarian move signifies a new stage in the efforts of the ruling elite to dismantle the National Health Service.

British junior doctors speak from the picket lines

By our reporters, 12 February 2016

Striking junior doctors and their supporters say that the government’s attacks on them are part of a broader assault on the National Health Service.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

12 February 2016

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Tens of thousands of steel, energy, retail, government jobs cut in the UK

By Harvey Thompson, 11 February 2016

Jobs are being destroyed in every sector, amid growing global economic turmoil.

Italian steel work faces closure or sell-off

By Marianne Arens, 8 February 2016

On January 11, 500 steel workers occupied the city hall in Genoa to protest the likely loss of their jobs.

Reject the Rail Maritime and Transport Union’s call to accept latest London Underground sell-out contract!

By Michael Barnes, 6 February 2016

Rail workers have seen the trade unions sabotage every struggle against the Conservative government since 2010.

Mass one-day strike hits Syriza’s austerity measures in Greece

By Robert Stevens, 5 February 2016

Just over one year after it came to power, Syriza, the party that was hailed by pseudo-left groups internationally, is an object of hatred and contempt.

Ten thousand jobs in danger at Volkswagen

By Dietmar Henning, 29 January 2016

VW has signaled through the corporate press that it is planning mass layoffs, wage cuts and a drastic worsening of working conditions.

Over a thousand jobs to go at Welsh steel plants

By Danny Richardson, 28 January 2016

There is no suggestion of opposition from either the trade unions or the Labour Party.

Mass protests against pension cuts in Greece

By Christoph Dreier, 23 January 2016

In Greece, an increasing number of professional groups are protesting against the planned pension cuts of the Syriza government.

2016 will be a year of escalating class struggle

By Jerry White, 4 January 2016

Class conflict will become an ever-more dominant feature of life in 2016 as the ruling classes in the US and around the world demand that workers pay for the global economic crisis.

The fracturing of the European Union

By Peter Schwarz, 28 December 2015

In the last century, great power aspirations, nationalism and fascism made the continent the focus of two world wars, which claimed nearly 100 million victims. Now, these same tendencies are spreading once again.

UK: Employment practises of Sports Direct retail giant exposed

By Harvey Thompson and Robert Stevens, 24 December 2015

Sports Direct has gained notoriety for its employment conditions, with its Shirebrook warehouse known locally as the “Gulag”.

Amid French state of emergency, Sodexo sacks 19 workers for striking

By Kumaran Ira, 23 December 2015

The sudden and unprecedented mass sacking by food and facilities management multinational Sodexo is an attack on the constitutionally protected right to strike.

Kellingley Colliery—last remaining deep coal mine in Britain—closes

By Harvey Thompson and Trevor Johnson, 22 December 2015

When Kellingley opened in 1965, coal production in Britain employed around 500,000 workers and produced up to 177 million tonnes of coal.

Government conspiracy against 1972 UK builders’ strike exposed

By Barry Mason, 15 December 2015

The frame-up of the striking workers, known as the Shrewsbury 24, required the intimate involvement of then-Conservative Prime Minister Ted Heath.

Opel Bochum: Few new jobs a year after plant closure

By Dietmar Henning, 12 December 2015

2,500 former Opel workers will soon face unemployment.

OECD finds UK pensions amongst lowest in world

By Margot Miller, 9 December 2015

Pensions have come under sustained attack by the previous Labour, Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition and present Conservative governments.

British Medical Association calls off UK junior doctors strikes

By Robert Stevens, 2 December 2015

The BMA’s betrayal allows the government further time to come up with a repackaged deal, in order to carry out effectively the same attacks on doctors’ employment conditions and pay.

German flight attendants’ strike ends without result

By Marianne Arens, 20 November 2015

The leadership of the flight attendants’ union UFO used a large strike demonstration in Frankfurt to reassure Lufthansa management that it will support corporate restructuring.

The Political Lessons of Syriza’s Betrayal in Greece

Statement of the International Committee of the Fourth International

13 November 2015

The warnings of the ICFI and WSWS that Syriza was a pro-capitalist party, hostile to the working class, have been completely vindicated.

Strike shuts down London Docklands Light Railway

By Ross Mitchell, 12 November 2015

The current owner has a history of slashing costs by sub-tendering jobs to its own contractors.

Postal workers strike in Belgium

By Ross Mitchell, 27 October 2015

Belgium Post’s plan to increase productivity and enforce flexible work schedules across the board is intended to prepare the way for full scale privatisation.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

23 October 2015

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

Thousands of job losses in UK steel industry

By Danny Richardson and Robert Stevens, 21 October 2015

The main steel unions have repeated their customary pro-business objections, centring on condemning cheap steel imports from China and high taxes on UK steel manufacturers.

Eight refugees killed by European border guards

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 19 October 2015

The barbaric refugee policies of the European Union are claiming more and more lives every week.

Police arrest Air France strikers who confronted bosses over mass layoffs

By Kumaran Ira, 14 October 2015

The arrest of the strikers is a deliberate act of political intimidation aimed at the working class as a whole, which is broadly sympathetic to the strikers.

GM-Opel workers in Germany support struggle of US autoworkers

By our reporters, 13 October 2015

WSWS reporters spoke to workers in front of the gates of the GM-Opel Rüsselsheim plant on Friday, and many declared their solidarity with their American brothers and sisters.

German childcare workers’ wage dispute: Vote “no”!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Germany), 13 October 2015

Although union members resoundingly rejected an arbitration proposal in June, the trade unions are now holding a new vote on virtually the same sell-out contract.

Volkswagen uses emissions crisis to impose deep cuts

By Ulrich Rippert, 9 October 2015

The IG Metall trade union and works council are paying a key role in the planned restructuring of Volkswagen, which will entail major cuts and layoffs.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

9 October 2015

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

Germany: Works council and union agree to job cuts at Siemens Power & Gas

By Gustav Kemper, 7 October 2015

IG Metall has has sought to suppress any serious resistance by staging a few harmless protest actions.

Workers revolt against mass layoffs at Air France

By Alex Lantier, 6 October 2015

Hundreds of workers invaded a meeting between Air France management and unions to plan mass layoffs, attacking company executives.

Britain’s second largest steelworks at Redcar faces closure

By Tony Robson, 6 October 2015

The trade unions have complied with every demand of the company on the pretext that increased competitiveness would guarantee future production.

Unions renew attempt to sell out German childcare workers

By Marianne Arens, 5 October 2015

The public service unions are trying to force through a deal virtually identical to the proposal recently voted down by an overwhelming majority of union members.

German union IG Metall holds one-day protests against short-term contracts

By Gustav Kemper, 3 October 2015

IG Metall, which is directly integrated into management, is fully aware of and tacitly accepts the practice.

German government adopts drastic measures to deter refugees

By Peter Schwarz, 19 September 2015

Refugees are to be scared away through hunger and homelessness, and transported back like cattle to countries where unspeakable conditions prevail.

Thousands more jobs to go across all sectors in UK

By Margot Miller, 19 September 2015

Local authorities in the UK face more devastating cuts, after already having their budgets slashed to pay for the bailout of the super-rich following the 2008 economic crisis.

German court declares pilots strike illegal, forcing return to work

By Dietmar Henning, 10 September 2015

The court action, which follows entirely the arguments of Lufthansa, is a deeply undemocratic decision that effectively abolishes the right to strike.

London Underground unions call off strikes

By Michael Barnes, 29 August 2015

All four unions which had threatened to strike are now working out the formula with which to force 24-hour work upon their members.