European Workers Issues

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.

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By , 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.

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By , 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.

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By , 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.

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By , 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.

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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.

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By , 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.

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By , 26 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

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By , 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.

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By , 28 June 2013

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By , 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.

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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.

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By , 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.

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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.

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By , 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.

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By , 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.

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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.

Berlin bus driver welcomes rank-and-file committee of New York City school bus workers

By , 4 March 2013

New York City school bus drivers and escorts decided to set up a rank-and-file committee after the betrayal of their month-long strike .

Mass layoffs at Caterpillar in Belgium

By Christoph Dreier, 1 March 2013

On Thursday the management of the US construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar announced that it was laying off 1,400 workers at its plant in Gosselies, Belgium.

IG Metall union seeks to finalize closure of GM-Opel Bochum plant

By Dietmar Henning, 1 March 2013

In the next week, the IG Metall, the works council and management at Opel want to seal the final closure of the Bochum Opel plant. Opel workers must not let this happen.

British trade union mounts witch-hunt based on accusations of “rape denial”

By Julie Hyland, 1 March 2013

The resolution passed by the UNISON trade union women’s conference denying a public platform to what it terms “rape deniers” is thoroughly reactionary and anti-democratic.

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The way forward in the fight against the closure of GM-Opel’s Bochum plant

By Ulrich Rippert, 26 February 2013

The following statement from the Socialist Equality Party (PSG) in Germany is being distributed to auto workers at the GM-Opel plant in Bochum who are facing the shutdown of their factory.

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Workers mount 24-hour national strike against social attacks in Greece

By Christoph Dreier, 21 February 2013

Tens of thousands of Greek workers went on strike on Wednesday to protest government austerity measures and attacks on the right to strike.

SYRIZA censures deputy for questioning Greek claims of disputed islands

By Christoph Dreier, 21 February 2013

The Greek Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) has expelled one of its members from a parliamentary committee after he distanced himself from anti-Turkish chauvinism and the Greek army.

Teachers demonstrate in Berlin

By our correspondent, 20 February 2013

German unions are seeking to defuse anger and prevent united action by teachers.

German Socialist Alternative group aids union sellout at Opel

By Christoph Dreier, 19 February 2013

The Socialist Alternative group is aiding IG Metall by attempting to sow illusions that the union can be transformed into a fighting organisation.

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French Goodyear workers protest against closure of Amiens Nord plant

By Antoine Lerougetel and Pierre Mabut, 14 February 2013

Some 800 workers from the Goodyear Tire plant in Amiens Nord, supported by more than 1,000 workers from other parts of France, protested outside the company’s French headquarters in Paris.

Unions suppress opposition to closure of Belgian Ford plant

By Dietmar Henning, 14 February 2013

In response to spontaneous walkouts by the workers, the unions intensified their cooperation with Ford.

Germany: Prinovis print works to close in Itzehoe

By Ernst Wolff, 11 February 2013

The closure of the Itzehoe printing plant in the summer of 2014 will cost 680 permanent employees their jobs, as well as those of 20 trainees and 300 contract workers.

UK postal workers at Whitstable abandoned by Communication Workers Union

By Zach Reed, 11 February 2013

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) called off a second 24-hour strike by postal workers against the closure of the Whitstable Delivery Office in East Kent.

French government prepares repression against workers

By Pierre Mabut and Antoine Lerougetel, 9 February 2013

Interior Minister Valls has given instructions for the police to monitor companies where workers are in struggle to keep their jobs.

Greek government threatens striking ferry workers with martial law

By Christoph Dreier, 5 February 2013

The Greek government has announced that it intends to ban a strike by ferry workers against wage cuts and sackings and place the workers under martial law.

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French Renault and PSA unions try to block fight against plant closures

By Antoine Lerougetel, 31 January 2013

The CGT and other unions are negotiating with PSA and Peugeot-Citroen on arrangements for plant closures and new competitiveness deals.

Political lessons of the Athens subway strike

By Christoph Dreier, 29 January 2013

The invocation of emergency powers and use of state violence to smash the Athens subway strike has shattered all claims that it is possible to shift the policy of the state by mass pressure from below.