European Workers Issues

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

Syriza’s parliamentary group supports Greek austerity agreement

By Robert Stevens, 27 February 2015

The vote comes amidst a developing crisis within Syriza’s ranks over the implications of the party’s repudiation of its election manifesto.

German trade union approves 1,400 layoffs at Karstadt department store

By Dietmar Henning, 27 February 2015

The job and wage cuts at the German department store are proceeding with the full support of the United Services Union (Verdi) and the joint works council.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

27 February 2015

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Germany: Further strike action imminent at Deutsche Bahn

By Dietmar Henning, 21 February 2015

A strike called by the German train drivers’ union would be the seventh strike in the ongoing contract dispute between the railway and the train drivers.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

20 February 2015

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Right-wing nationalists regain Croatian presidency

By Paul Mitchell, 19 February 2015

Croatia's unemployment rate is among the highest in Europe, and nearly half of the country's youth are without jobs.

Siemens unveils another round of job cuts in Germany and worldwide

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 14 February 2015

The German electronics firm is cutting 7,800 jobs globally, 3,300 of them in Germany, with the collaboration of the IG Metall trade union.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

13 February 2015

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Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

6 February 2015

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Russian central bank cuts interest rate amid growing economic chaos

By Nick Beams, 2 February 2015

The rate cut is a sign of the deepening crisis of Russia’s economy resulting from the economic, diplomatic and military offensive led by Washington.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

30 January 2015

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German corporations call for new forms of workplace exploitation

By Dietmar Henning, 26 January 2015

Corporations and government institutions in Germany have called for a “fourth industrial revolution” based on at-will employment.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

16 January 2015

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Germany: Daimler screening workers for terrorist links

By Dietmar Henning, 13 January 2015

Daimler management and its works council have agreed to compare all its employees against EU and US terrorist watch lists every three months.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

9 January 2015

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Germany: Ten years of Hartz IV welfare cuts

By Dietmar Henning, 6 January 2015

The Hartz IV legislation of 2005 began the most destructive attack on the German social welfare system since the end of World War II.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

19 December 2014

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General strike against austerity hits Belgian government

By Alex Lantier, 16 December 2014

The strike brought the country to a standstill amid mass opposition in the working class to the reactionary Michel government's austerity agenda.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

12 December 2014

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Protests erupt in Rome against attack on job protection

By Marc Wells, 5 December 2014

Protests broke out in Rome against the Renzi government’s Jobs Act, a labor reform that removes basic workers’ rights and guarantees.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

5 December 2014

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Lufthansa pilots in Germany walk out again

By Dietmar Henning, 4 December 2014

Pilots and other workers are fighting company plans to expand operations of its low-cost subsidiaries and slash jobs and wages.

Germany: ThyssenKrupp returns to profitability and steps up its cuts program

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 26 November 2014

ThyssenKrupp is using the international economic crisis to drastically intensify the exploitation of its workforce.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

21 November 2014

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Still The Enemy Within: The 1984-85 British miners’ strike according to the pseudo-left

By Paul Mitchell, 15 November 2014

The central problem with the documentary is its promotion of the state capitalist Socialist Workers Party’s perspective, which lets the Labour Party and the unions entirely off the hook for the betrayal of the miners.

German train drivers face political struggle

By Ulrich Rippert, 14 November 2014

By shutting down the train drivers strike, the leadership of the GDL union signaled its readiness to collaborate with the government.