European Workers Issues

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

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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

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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.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

28 August 2015

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Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

21 August 2015

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Syriza agrees to full list of EU austerity demands in new bailout plan

By Robert Stevens, 12 August 2015

The proposed deal, which accepts all the main demands of the "troika," will have catastrophic consequences for Greece’s already impoverished population.

Germany: Layoffs at gourmet chain Karstadt/Perfetto

By Jan Peters and Marianne Arens, 12 August 2015

German department store group Karstadt is closing more branches and sacking hundreds of staff.

London Tube workers carry out 24-hour strike

By Paul Mitchell, 8 August 2015

Although deliberately limited by the unions, the walkout brought the capital city of 8.63 million people to a virtual standstill.

London Tube worker describes issues in struggle

By our correspondent, 8 August 2015

London Underground worker explains how the introduction of night work would set the precedent for further attacks on conditions.

UK teachers leave profession in record numbers

By Tania Kent, 7 August 2015

Applications for teaching jobs have declined by 27,000 in the last 12 months.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

7 August 2015

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International Viewpoint, Syriza and the fraud of Greece’s “Truth Committee” on debt

By Robert Stevens, 4 August 2015

Syriza’s initial support for a debt audit was merely a diversion to prevent any mobilisation of the working class against the EU and the Greek ruling class.

London Underground workers set to hold second 24-hour strike

By Daniel O’Flynn, 4 August 2015

LU workers are involved in a political struggle with the employers and government, which want to reorganise the transport system on behalf of global capital.

Union calls off District line action prior to London Underground strike

By Ross Mitchell, 3 August 2015

Seven drivers, members of ASLEF, were suspended by LUL management for refusing to take out trains as part of union-initiated industrial action.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

31 July 2015

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Tata Steel to sack 720 workers in England

By Danny Richardson, 23 July 2015

The plan to shut down three steel bar manufacturing plants is part of a six-year long business restructuring strategy.

German auto workers condemn austerity deal imposed on Greece

By our correspondents, 17 July 2015

Workers at GM-Opel’s Rüsselsheim plant denounced the brutal austerity measures imposed on Greece last weekend by the German government.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

17 July 2015

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Germany: Outokumpu steel plant closes in Bochum

By Philipp Frisch, 10 July 2015

The shutting of the plant followed a well-known script, with the unions seeking to keep employees quiet with vague promises of job security, while the plant was closed in installments.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

10 July 2015

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German Ver.di trade union sells out postal workers strike

By Gustav Kemper, 9 July 2015

After a four-week strike and a high degree of militancy by German postal workers, the Verdi trade union has accepted a contract that is directly opposed to workers’ interests.

A landslide “no” to EU austerity in Greece

By Alex Lantier, 6 July 2015

Yesterday’s “no” vote in Greece is a massive popular repudiation of the EU and the austerity agenda it has pursued across Europe since the 2008 economic crisis.

Ver.di ends strike at Berlin’s Charité hospital

By Markus Salzmann, 6 July 2015

The Ver.di trade union is fraudulently celebrating the agreement at the Charité as a great breakthrough.

On the spot report from Athens

Mass demonstration opposes austerity in Greece

By Robert Stevens and Christoph Dreier, 4 July 2015

Tens of thousands of people took part in a demonstration Friday evening in Athens in opposition to the austerity programme of the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

On eve of referendum

Rumbles of military coup as Greek workers demand end to EU austerity

By Alex Lantier, 4 July 2015

Statements by retired military officers calling for a “yes” vote in Sunday’s Greek referendum carry the implied threat of a coup.

German train drivers’ union agrees to strike ban effective until 2020

By Dietmar Henning, 4 July 2015

Hidden within a new agreement with Deutsche Bahn, the GDL has agreed to a “binding arbitration settlement”—in effect, a strike ban—for the life of the contract.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

3 July 2015

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Germany: IG Metall union suppresses opposition at ThyssenKrupp

By Dietmar Henning, 1 July 2015

IG Metall at Thyssen Krupp is trying to stifle all opposition and erect a sophisticated system aimed at policing workers at the factory.

Syriza’s fraudulent capital controls

By Nick Beams, 30 June 2015

Billions of euros have been taken out of Greece by wealthy individuals and corporations in order to make a financial killing if the country goes back to the drachma.

UK unions abandon strike threat at Tata Steel

By Danny Richardson, 29 June 2015

A spokesman for Tata Steel indicated that the company believes it has made gains at workers’ expense.

Ver.di seeks to impose sellout of German childcare workers strike

By Marianne Arens, 27 June 2015

Many workers who had placed great hopes in the strike are incensed over Ver.di’s behaviour.

German child care strike delegates rebuff union president

By Marianne Arens, 26 June 2015

The arbitration proposal brought by the ver.di leadership to end the month-long child care workers strike would amount to a freeze in real wages for 240,000 workers.

Dortmund: Steelworkers protest against plant closure

By Philipp Frisch, 26 June 2015

Workers denounced management and demanded strike action at a workplace meeting at the Hoesch sheet steel works (HSP) earlier this month.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

26 June 2015

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Striking Berlin hospital workers denounce austerity, staffing cuts

By our correspondents, 25 June 2015

Several hundred nurses and care workers gathered at the Ministry of Health on the second day of the strike at Berlin’s Charité Hospital, Europe’s largest health facility.

The role of Ver.di and the Left Party in the Berlin health workers strike

By Markus Salzmann and Ulrich Rippert, 24 June 2015

The precondition for a successful struggle at Berlin’s Charité is a break with Ver.di and its workplace organization.

Ukrainians testify to a life of poverty and violence under US-backed government

By Jason Melanovski, 22 June 2015

The WSWS recently spoke with Ukrainian workers and students on the current state of social and economic conditions under the right-wing regime of Petro Poroshenko.

Nurses strike at Berlin Charité clinic in Germany

By Ute Reissner, 22 June 2015

Nurses and other caregivers at the largest university hospital in Europe are walking out against understaffing and the sacrifice of patient care for profit.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

19 June 2015

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Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

12 June 2015

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Mass layoffs in French nuclear energy industry threaten 6,000 jobs worldwide

By Anthony Torres, 10 June 2015

Electricité de France, which is acquiring nuclear energy firm Areva and threatening mass layoffs, is sitting on cash reserves of tens of billions of euros.

Germany: The reactionary politics of IG Metall and the works council at Siemens

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 10 June 2015

IG Metall has responded to the announcement of layoffs at Siemens by calling for increasing the company’s competitiveness at the expense of the workforce.

Spanish telecom workers strike against “precariousness and slave labour”

By Vicky Short, 30 May 2015

The Telefónica-Movistar workers’ struggle has received widespread support, but the bankrupt perspective of the unions is endangering the strike.

Spanish telecom strikers: “We have to resist until we achieve something”

By Carlos Hernández, 30 May 2015

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to striking Spanish Telefónica-Movistar technicians and installers.

Works council elections at Germany’s ThyssenKrupp: What way forward?

By Dietmar Henning, 28 May 2015

The problems confronting ThyssenKrupp workers in Duisburg cannot be resolved on the basis of a trade unionist strategy.

UK rail unions call off strike action

By Michael Barnes, 23 May 2015

The unions have betrayed a large strike mandate and disarmed rail-workers in the face of a ferocious assault by the incoming Conservative government.

German train drivers’ union calls off strike and agrees to arbitration

By Ulrich Rippert, 22 May 2015

The strike was called off Thursday, the day before the Bundestag takes up the contentious “contract unity” bill, which would essentially ban strikes by smaller unions in an industry.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

15 May 2015

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Nationwide strike by child care workers in Germany

By Marianne Arens, 14 May 2015

Striking workers in child care and social services confront not only their employers, but also the trade unions.

Siemens announces massive job cuts worldwide

By Dietmar Henning, 12 May 2015

The new job cuts were agreed upon between the trade union, works council and management.

Stress and speedup in German GM-Opel plants

By Marianne Arens, 27 April 2015

The IG Metall trade union is collaborating with management to pressure workers to increase output at GM-Opel factories.

German train drivers strike for seventh time in a year

By Dietmar Henning, 24 April 2015

Deutsche Bahn management is delaying talks with German train drivers’ union (GDL) until the enforcement of a new law that will effectively outlaw strike action.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

24 April 2015

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Workers at Germany’s Postbank begin indefinite strike

By Gustav Kemper, 23 April 2015

As part of its gradual takeover of Postbank, Deutsche Bank has carried out a radical cost-cutting program, including outsourcing and wage cuts.

More layoffs as global oil price slump continues

By Niles Williamson, 18 April 2015

The world’s largest oilfield service company, Schlumberger, announced this week that as a result of declining oil production it will cut 11,000 jobs worldwide, bringing the firm’s total layoffs so far this year to 20,000.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

17 April 2015

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German postal workers strike against outsourcing of jobs

By Gustav Kemper, 13 April 2015

While the trade union was forced to call a short-term strike, it is involved at the highest level in the restructuring of Deutsche Post and associated attacks on working conditions.

Tata ends British Steel pension scheme

By Danny Richardson, 10 April 2015

The Indian steel giant stands to save around £1 billion by ending the defined benefit pensions it inherited from the once state-owned British steelmaker

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

10 April 2015

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Germany: Speculation mounts over Thyssen Krupp plan to outsource steel production

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 7 April 2015

Speculation is growing at Germany’s largest technology firm that Thyssen Krupp may be preparing to separate from its steel production division, affecting some 26,000 jobs.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

3 April 2015

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German public service contract: Teachers sold out once again

By Dietmar Henning, 1 April 2015

Anger is running high among trade union members over the latest deal.

Strike by Lufthansa pilots continues

By Philipp Frisch and Ulrich Rippert, 21 March 2015

Management wants to force the pilots to submit and make an example of them in order to push through worse conditions for the other 110,000 staff.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

13 March 2015

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Tens of thousands of auto supply jobs under threat in Germany

By Jan Peters, 12 March 2015

As global auto production falls, the pressure exercised by auto manufacturers on small and medium-sized suppliers to cut costs is increasing continuously.

German teachers and pre-school workers stage protest strike

By our reporter, 10 March 2015

There is deep mistrust among teachers of the trade union leadership, which two years ago abandoned the central demand of equal pay for equal work.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

6 March 2015

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Dozens killed in fatal methane blast at east Ukraine coal mine

By Robert Stevens, 5 March 2015

The deaths at the Zasyadko mine underscore yet again the bloody price that workers living in the former Soviet Union are paying for the restoration of capitalism.