European Workers Issues

Renewed strikes at Amazon sites in Germany

By Dietmar Henning, 7 December 2013

The miserable working conditions at Amazon have been ignored by German trade unions for years. Now, the Verdi union is utilising the conflicts at the online retailer to further its own interests.

German IG Metall union supports grand coalition government

By Dietmar Henning, 5 December 2013

The IG Metall union has given its clear support to the formation of a grand coalition between the Social Democrats and the conservative parties.

Scotland: Unions call off strike at Stirling City Council

By Steve James, 5 December 2013

After months of negotiations, the unions have conceded to all of the councils’ demands and are advising workers to accept the deal in separate ballots.

Workers protest closure of Spanish cooperative Fagor

By Alejandro López and Carlos Hernández, 26 November 2013

The collapse of the Fagor cooperative demonstrates that such organisations are not an alternative to capitalism, as their promoters proclaim.

France: The fraud of Mélenchon’s “Fiscal Revolution”

By Antoine Lerougetel, 26 November 2013

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the French Left Party, has called for a “Fiscal Revolution” in response to mass opposition to the Socialist Party government.

UK Socialist Party mounts its defence of the union bureaucracy

By Paul Mitchell, 25 November 2013

The Socialist Party’s Socialism 2013 conference was a desperate exercise in covering the exposed rear of the trade union bureaucracy.

German union seals shutdown of GM-Opel’s Bochum plant

By Dietmar Henning, 22 November 2013

IG Metall has reached a deal with GM-Opel management confirming the shutdown of the Bochum plant by the end of 2014.

Unions spearhead assault on Scottish teachers

By Steve Alexander, 22 November 2013

Scottish teachers vote to reject latest pay offer, as trade unions continue to sabotage widespread opposition.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

22 November 2013

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Pupil support assistants strike against Glasgow City Council

By Stephen Alexander, 21 November 2013

The Unison trade union is seeking to restrict the struggle of pupil support assistants against Glasgow City Council to an innocuous localised protest.

Greek government threatens university employees with martial law

By Christoph Dreier, 20 November 2013

Four decades since the Greek junta attacked the Polytechnio in Athens, the Greek government is again threatening to attack protesting university staff and students.

Unions end Madrid cleaners’ strike

By Alejandro López, 20 November 2013

The unions have ended a bitter strike by refuse workers in Madrid, signing a concessions agreement.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

15 November 2013

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Madrid garbage collectors strike against lay-offs and wage cuts

By Alejandro López, 14 November 2013

Thousands of garbage collectors and gardeners have been on indefinite strike in Spain's capital Madrid since November 5.

Portuguese public sector workers strike

By Jordan Shilton, 14 November 2013

A strike of Portuguese public sector workers, in opposition to further austerity cuts of €3.9 billion, including wage cuts of up to 12 percent, received the support of 70 percent of the workforce.

BAE Systems shipyard closures in UK threaten nearly 2,000 jobs

By Paul Mitchell, 13 November 2013

Nearly 2,000 jobs are to go at shipyards in the UK, with no opposition from the trade unions.

UK: Campaign for “living wage” conceals falling pay rates

By Barry Mason, 12 November 2013

The “living wage” pay rate, set up by the Living Wage Foundation, is set at just £1.34 above the official UK minimum wage and has no statutory basis.

British unions deepen collaboration with glassmaker Pilkington over job losses

By Danny Richardson, 12 November 2013

The 140 jobs to be lost with the closure of Pilkington’s Float Glass Line at Cowley Hill, St Helens, comes on top of 150 job losses at the company earlier this year in the same town.

Romanian teachers protest austerity policies

By Andrei Tudora and Tina Zamfir, 12 November 2013

WSWS reporters spoke to education workers at a November 6 protest against austerity in the Romanian capital of Bucharest.

Pseudo-left groups cover for a rout engineered by Britain’s unions

By Paul Mitchell, 11 November 2013

The most grotesque of the recent capitulations by the unions took place on October 24, when the Unite union ended the Grangemouth dispute.

Irish unions complete sellout of Dublin Bus workers

By Jordan Shilton, 9 November 2013

Drivers at Dublin Bus face pay cuts and changes to working conditions in a multi-million euro savings programme, as a result of the trade unions blocking any opposition.

Upsurge of strikes and popular anger in France at mass sackings, tax hikes

By Alex Lantier, 8 November 2013

Workers led protest marches and occupied factories across France yesterday, amid explosive anger at the policies of French President François Hollande.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

8 November 2013

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UK teaching unions call off strike action

By Tania Kent, 5 November 2013

The calling off of a national teachers’ strike exposes the role of Britain’s pseudo-left groups, who have provided a crucial cover for the trade union bureaucracy.

UK probation officers vote to strike

By Paul Veevers, 5 November 2013

Probation officers in the UK to strike against privatisation as their trade union, Napo, negotiates terms of a private sector service.

UK lecturers and academic staff stage one-day national strike

By Robert Stevens, 2 November 2013

Rallies were held in major cities throughout England and Scotland.

Protest strikes at German department store chain

By Dietmar Hennning, 31 October 2013

The Verdi trade union organised isolated protest strikes at Karstadt last Friday and Saturday aimed at concealing the union’s role in wage and job cuts.

Unite union hands victory to INEOS in Scotland’s Grangemouth refinery lockout

By Steve James, 28 October 2013

The Unite trade union has agreed to massive attacks on workers’ pay, pensions and conditions, as well as a three-year strike ban.

UK postal workers vote to strike

By Tony Robson, 23 October 2013

The floatation of Royal Mail is the last in a series of privatisations stretching back over 30 years.

Britain: INEOS launches assault on Grangemouth refinery workers

By Steve James, 21 October 2013

Transnational INEOS has utilised the Unite union’s sabotage of a planned strike at the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland to escalate plans to impose attacks on workers’ jobs and livelihoods.

German technology manufacturer Loewe declares bankruptcy

By Konrad Kreft, 12 October 2013

With the support of the trade unions, Loewe has laid off around 35 percent of its workforce in less than six months.

Greek university strike enters fifth week

By John Vassilopoulos, 8 October 2013

Greek trade unions, where the pseudo-left Syriza party plays a key role, are working to isolate and defeat the 5-week strike of university administrative workers.

UK teachers in regional strikes as unions seek accommodation with government

By Tania Kent, 4 October 2013

Teachers across several English regions struck this week in the latest action to protest government attacks on their pay, conditions and pension rights.

UK regional teachers strike provides no answers

By a Cambridgeshire teacher, 4 October 2013

The teachers unions’ rally in Cambridge during Tuesday’s regional strike demonstrated the role of the unions and their pseudo-left supporters in preventing a united mobilisation of teachers against the attacks of the Conservative/Liberal coalition.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

4 October 2013

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UK bakers union winds up Hovis strike

By Tony Robson, 30 September 2013

In the name of flexibility, the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union has agreed to reduced hours and cuts in pay.

Germany: Salzgitter AG cuts over 1,500 steel jobs

By Sven Heymann, 27 September 2013

In helping to impose the job cuts, the IG Metall union and the works council are playing a decisive role in offloading the crisis onto the backs of the workers.

Spanish Socialist Party toes US line on Syria

By Alejandro López, 23 September 2013

The efforts by Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE) to whip up support for US-led threats against Syria is aimed at distracting public attention from the social catastrophe for which it is responsible.

UK teaching unions announce limited strike action

By Tania Kent, 23 September 2013

Concerned that opposition will develop outside of their control, the UK’s teaching unions are organizing a token show of resistance as the coalition government presses ahead with yet another round of attacks on education.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

13 September 2013

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Britain: Labour leader praises unions for working with employers to cut pay and hours

By Robert Stevens, 12 September 2013

TUC figures show that British workers' pay fell by more than £10 billion annually and was 7.5 percent lower in 2012 than on the eve of the recession in 2007.

British unions try to head off new strike threat at Brighton council

By Paul Mitchell, 12 September 2013

The actions of the Green Party-led council in Brighton have exposed the claim of the pseudo-left that the organisation represents a progressive alternative to Labour.

UK: Wigan Hovis workers bring strike action over zero hours contracts

By Tony Robson, 11 September 2013

Workers at Hovis site in Wigan, north west England, decided to vote on strike action after 26 redundancies were made in April and agency workers on zero hour contracts taken on.

Germany: GM-Opel workers fear Bochum plant will close in 2014

By Dietmar Henning, 10 September 2013

Opel workers fear that General Motors intends to close its plant in Bochum, Germany sooner than previously announced.

Irish doctors vote for strike action

By Jordan Shilton, 10 September 2013

Facing intolerable working conditions as a result of an 8 percent health budget cut, Irish junior doctors have voted in favour of strikes.

Unite trade union ends DHL-Jaguar Land Rover dispute

By Danny Richardson, 7 September 2013

A massive vote for strike action by workers employed by the logistics firm DHL had the potential to halt production at Jaguar Land Rover sites, but this was sabotaged by the Unite union.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

6 September 2013

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Eastern European migrant workers face slave labour in Germany

By Anna Rombach, 30 August 2013

Many workers from Bulgaria and Romania seeking work in Germany as a result of the austerity measures of the EU are denied minimal social rights.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

30 August 2013

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Retired German auto workers fight for pension increase

By our correspondent, 26 August 2013

Former Opel workers held a demonstration at the company’s Bochum plant last Wednesday to demand an increase to their pensions.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

16 August 2013

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The EU and the attack on European workers’ wages

By Julie Hyland, 15 August 2013

A new study by the UK’s House of Commons Library finds that European workers’ wages have fallen drastically since the Wall Street crash five years ago.

New management at German giant Siemens to introduce further cuts

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 15 August 2013

Hit by the economic downturn, Siemens, Germany’s third largest industrial concern, has announced plans for further cuts.

Dublin Bus workers sold out by unions

By Jordan Shilton, 15 August 2013

Another strike by bus workers, protesting attacks on working conditions, pay and drivers' schedules, has been ended by the trade unions.

One million UK workers on zero-hour contracts

By Liz Smith, 7 August 2013

An estimated one million UK workers are employed by major companies on “zero-hour” or “on-call” contracts, without the right to any guaranteed pay or benefits.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

26 July 2013

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Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

19 July 2013

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Postal union ends unofficial strike as UK government announces Royal Mail privatisation

By Mary Smith, 13 July 2013

Postal workers in Peterborough, England took unofficial strike action last week

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

12 July 2013

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DHL workers supplying UK Jaguar Land Rover plants vote to strike

By Danny Richardson, 12 July 2013

A strike by workers employed by logistics firm, DHL, who supply three Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) car plants in England, could halt assembly production in Merseyside and the West Midlands.

British unions isolate refuse workers fighting wage cuts

By Paul Stuart, 29 June 2013

The GMB trade union, in collaboration with Green Party-run Brighton & Hove council, have called off a bitter strike by workers protesting cuts in pay.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

28 June 2013

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Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

21 June 2013

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Workers in Britain suffer the greatest fall in wages since the 1930s

By Robert Stevens, 20 June 2013

Wages, adjusted for inflation, have fallen by 15 percent in the UK over the last five years.

France: How the Workers’ Struggle group is helping to shut down the Aulnay car plant

By Antoine Lerougetel and Pierre Mabut, 17 June 2013

On May 17, CGT branch spokesman Jean-Pierre Mercier signed a deal that puts the seal on the Aulnay car plant’s closure by 2014.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

14 June 2013

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Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

7 June 2013

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Trade unions in alliance with management against Berlin transport workers

By Franz Schobert and Carola Kleinert, 29 May 2013

Verdi and the Municipal Employers’ Association (CAV) reached a deal last week for the 13,000 workers at Berlin’s transport company BVG.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

24 May 2013

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Works council in Bochum seeks to stifle opposition to GM-Opel plant closing

By Dietmar Henning, 24 May 2013

The chairman of the works council at the GM-Opel factory in Bochum called a meeting at the plant gate which halted production for several hours following the recent confirmation by management that it planned to close the plant.

ThyssenKrupp to slash 3,000 jobs

By Elizabeth Zimmermann, 22 May 2013

ThyssenKrupp CEO Heinrich Hiesinger announced the axing of a further 3,000 jobs worldwide.

Unions sabotage Irish bus workers strike

By Jordan Shilton, 17 May 2013

According to reports, up to 95 percent of services were affected, including major routes in Dublin and longer inter-city connections.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

17 May 2013

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Greek teachers defy military mobilisation orders

By Christoph Dreier, 16 May 2013

Greek teachers have voted to oppose the mobilisation order of the government and begin strike action on Friday.

Germany: Opel Bochum workers denounce union sellout

By our correspondents, 11 May 2013

GM Opel workers are incensed over the betrayal carried out by the IG Metall trade union.

Lufthansa: Verdi union agrees to 30 percent pay cut for airline workers

By Ernst Wolff, 9 May 2013

Verdi union negotiators have approved the setting up of three low-cost subsidiaries at Lufthansa, the largest European airline, paying up to 30 percent lower wages.

Germany: Verdi union accepts cuts to real wages at Lufthansa

By Ernst Wolff, 7 May 2013

Following strikes by its Lufthansa members, Verdi has capitulated to management.

French unions back closure of PSA Aulnay auto factory

By Anthony Torres, 7 May 2013

On Monday, auto maker PSA’s central works council authorized a redundancy scheme to close PSA’s plant at Aulnay, near Paris.

France: What is Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s May 5 protest?

By Antoine Lerougetel and Alex Lantier, 4 May 2013

A class gulf separates the explosive anger and opposition to austerity that is building in the working class across Europe from establishment figures like Mélenchon.

UAW chief stabs German Opel workers in the back

By Jerry White, 2 May 2013

United Auto Workers President Bob King called on workers at General Motors’ Opel factory in Bochum, Germany to vote again on a concessions-laden contract.

Danish government forces teachers to work longer hours without pay

By Christoph Dreier, 27 April 2013

The Danish parliament passed a special law Friday stipulating that school teachers must work extra hours and accept more flexibility, without pay.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

26 April 2013

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Political issues in the teachers’ lockout in Denmark

By Christoph Dreier, 25 April 2013

The lockout of tens of thousands of Danish teachers by the state marks a new stage in the class struggle in Europe.

Protest strike by teachers in Berlin

By Ute Reissner, 25 April 2013

Some 8,000 teachers were called out on a one-day protest strike in Berlin on Tuesday.

70,000 Danish teachers locked out

By Helmut Arens and Christoph Dreier, 24 April 2013

In a historically unprecedented act, the Danish government has locked out 70,000 high school teachers for more than three weeks.

One-day Lufthansa strike grounds flights in Germany

By Ernst Wolff, 24 April 2013

A strike by Lufthansa ground crew on Monday led to the cancellation of flights at airports across Germany.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

19 April 2013

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Norwegian trade unions avert national strike

By Robert Stevens, 12 April 2013

A deal on pay will mean a minuscule raise, wholly in the interests of the employers.

Hundreds of workers at Goss International France lose their jobs

By Gustav Kemper, 8 April 2013

Web offset giant Goss International intensifies its redundancy program, laying off 430 workers.

IG Metall union joins offensive against GM-Opel workers

By Dietmar Henning, 30 March 2013

The executive of the IG Metall trade union unanimously voted in Frankfurt-Main in favor of the so-called “Opel Master Contract”, sealing the closure of the GM-Opel factory in Bochum.

Spain: Sacked Delphi workers confront trade unions

By Vicky Short, 29 March 2013

Sacked Delphi workers in Cadiz clashed with trade union officials during an official celebration called by the Socialist Party-Communist Party regional government.

Goodyear union in France touts cooperative to “save” Amiens plant

By Antoine Lerougetel, 27 March 2013

The CGT union at the Goodyear Tire plant in Amiens in northern France, has outlined its plans for making the site a workers’ cooperative.

Unions approve closure of PSA’s Aulnay plant in France

By Antoine Lerougetel, 21 March 2013

On Monday, the unions voted to accept the closure the PSA Peugeot-Citroën factory at Aulnay, cutting 3,000 jobs directly and 11,214 jobs throughout France.

Italy: Bridgestone wants to close plant in Bari

By Marianne Arens, 19 March 2013

Tyre manufacturer Bridgestone is responding to the declining European tyre market by cutting jobs in southern Italy.

Spain’s Iberia airline strike betrayed by unions

By Alejandro López, 14 March 2013

The five unions representing the majority of workers at Spanish airline Iberia have accepted a deal to end the three-month dispute.

France: PSA car workers’ strike at an impasse

By Pierre Mabut, 14 March 2013

Some 100 PSA Citroën car workers from the Aulnay plant near Paris occupied the Engineering Employers Federation’s Paris offices to protest plans to close their plant.

Police clash with workers fighting closure of Goodyear Amiens-Nord plant

By Antoine Lerougetel, 9 March 2013

Riot police sprayed tear-gas and fired pepper spray at hundreds of workers from the Goodyear Tire Amiens-Nord site in northern France Thursday.

Unions sign French automaker Renault’s plan to slash jobs, wages

By Kumaran Ira, 8 March 2013

Unions at Renault approved a cost-cutting plan allowing the carmaker to cut jobs, lengthen working hours and freeze wages in factories across France.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

8 March 2013

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Struggle against closure of Goodyear plant in Amiens, France at a crossroads

By Antoine Lerougetel, 7 March 2013

The six-year struggle of workers at Goodyear’s Amiens-Nord tyre plant against company threats of a plant closure and mass sackings is at a crossroads.