European Workers Issues

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.

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

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.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

1 March 2013

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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.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

22 February 2013

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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.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

15 February 2013

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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.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

1 February 2013

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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.

Renault and PSA Peugeot-Citroën workers in joint protest against factory closures

By Antoine Lerougetel and Pierre Mabut, 29 January 2013

Striking workers from the PSA car factory in Aulnay near Paris—which have been occupying the plant slated to be shut in 2014—joined workers at the Renault plant in Flins that is also threatened with closure

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

25 January 2013

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Air Berlin cuts 900 jobs

By our correspondents, 21 January 2013

Chief Executive Wolfgang Prock-Schauer has demanded that the workforce accept pay cuts.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

18 January 2013

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Germany: Corrupt practices of IG Metall union, paid for by Thyssen-Krupp

By Dietmar Henning, 18 January 2013

Leading figures in the IG Metall trade union enjoyed luxury perks and travel at company expense.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

11 January 2013

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Unions isolate Portuguese dockworkers’ struggle against European port restructuring

By Paul Mitchell, 27 December 2012

Portuguese dockworkers have struck against the restructuring plans of the right-wing Social Democratic Party/Popular Party coalition government.

German union boss becomes head of personnel at ThyssenKrupp

By Dietmar Henning, 17 December 2012

Another leading trade union official accepts a multi-million-euro reward from big business.

Italian steel workers fight for jobs

By Marianne Arens, 5 December 2012

Employees of the Ilva steel group carried out demonstrations throughout Italy last week to protest against the closure of the company’s main plant in Taranto.

Florange steelworkers betrayed by French government, unions

By Pierre Mabut, 4 December 2012

The Socialist Party (PS) government capitulated to steelmaker ArcelorMittal, putting the 629 jobs at the blast furnaces at Florange in eastern France in the balance.

Brandenburg teachers protest state education policies

By Ernst Wolff, 30 November 2012

Teachers in Brandenburg staged a protest against the education policies of the state’s administration—a coalition of the Social Democratic Party and Left Party.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

30 November 2012

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Spanish unions abandon miners prosecuted during 2010 strikes

By Vicky Short, 16 November 2012

Seven Spanish miners who faced charges of public disorder and “attacks on authority” after the 2010 strike saw their sentences suspended in exchange for a two-year probationary period.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

16 November 2012

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Belgium: 20,000 protest against closure of Ford plant in Genk

By our reporters, 13 November 2012

The closure will throw 4,600 workers at the factory and more than 5,000 employees in related industries out of work.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

9 November 2012

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German public services trade union Verdi agrees to wage cuts

By Ernst Wolff, 2 November 2012

The German public services trade union, Verdi, has agreed to a contract cutting 15,000 workers’ wages by 5 percent.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

2 November 2012

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Lufthansa pushes ahead with job cuts

By Ernst Wolff, 30 October 2012

Lufthansa management has announced details of its plan to outsource and cut jobs.

France’s New Anti-capitalist Party conceals plans for historic attack on European auto workers

By Alex Lantier, 30 October 2012

As European automakers and trade unions prepare job and wage cuts, the NPA is advancing justifications for their reactionary policies.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

19 October 2012

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Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

27 September 2012

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Unions leading race to bottom for British car workers

By Trevor Johnson, 25 September 2012

Britain’s trade unions have enabled significant cuts to car workers’ pay at the same time as enormous hikes in productivity.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

21 September 2012

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Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

20 September 2012

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Caterpillar to sack 920 workers at FG Wilson, Northern Ireland

By Steve James, 19 September 2012

Caterpillar Inc.’s decision to shift diesel generator production from Northern Ireland to China will cost 760 staff and 160 agency workers their jobs.

Alcoa workers travel to Rome to protest imminent plant closure

By Mike Jobson, 17 September 2012

On September 10 about 500 Alcoa workers from Sardinia travelled to Rome to protest the imminent closure of their plant located in Portovesme.

Sartorius report: French government backs mass layoffs at auto maker PSA

By Pierre Mabut, 15 September 2012

The Socialist Party government accepted a report backing PSA’s plans for mass layoffs and factory closures.

Lessons of the Lufthansa strike

By Ulrich Rippert, 14 September 2012

The power and solidarity demonstrated in the recent German flight attendants’ strike caused union officials to close ranks with management rather than broadening and deepening the struggle.

German flight attendants’ union calls for arbitration at Lufthansa

By our correspondents, 8 September 2012

Although the strike by German flight attendants was a great success, Ufo union chairman Nicoley Baublies has agreed to talks with the company management.

Lufthansa strike needs the support and solidarity of all workers

By Socialist Equality Party (PSG), 7 September 2012

At the centre of the current Lufthansa labor dispute is not just a reasonable wage for a specific group of workers, but the basic rights and social gains of the entire working population.

Flight attendants strike at Germany’s major airports

By our correspondents, 5 September 2012

Lufthansa flight attendants took their second day of strike action on Tuesday.

Lufthansa cabin crew launch strike

By our correspondent, 1 September 2012

On Friday morning, 19,000 flight attendants began strike action against Lufthansa.

Lufthansa cabin crew on strike

By our correspondent, 29 August 2012

Lufthansa flight attendants have been on strike since Tuesday against massive wage cuts.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

24 August 2012

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Swiss trade unions play key role in facilitating closure of Merck Serono plant

By Marianne Arens, 18 August 2012

UNIA, the largest Swiss union, has played an indispensable role in helping the company close the Merck Serono plant in Geneva.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

17 August 2012

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European car industry prepares mass redundancies

By Dietmar Henning, 13 August 2012

Auto manufacturers who produce almost exclusively for the European market are reporting massive losses and are preparing mass layoffs, plant closures and wage cuts.

The betrayal of Spain’s miners strike and the silence of the fake left

By Alejandro López, 10 August 2012

The two main trade unions, the CCOO and UGT, have called miners back to work in the regions of Aragon, León and Asturias after 67 days of strike action.

Nippon Sheet Glass cuts jobs at Pilkington’s UK factories

By Danny Dickinson, 10 August 2012

Japan’s Nippon Sheet Glass announced this month it is to cut a further 90 jobs at two Pilkington factories in the Northwest of England.

Flight attendants at Swiss airline oust union leadership

By Ernst Wolff, 9 August 2012

Flight attendants of Swiss, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the German airline Lufthansa, are protesting against low pay, extremely short stopovers on long-haul flights and the failure to pay an annual bonus.

UK Fire Brigades Union calls off Olympics strike action

By Aidan Claire, 6 August 2012

The Fire Brigades Union has called off strike action set to coincide with the Olympics mountain biking events on August 11-12.

PCS union suspends strike planned for Olympics

By Tony Robson, 1 August 2012

A planned walkout by thousands of UK civil service workers on the eve of the Olympic Games’ opening was suspended at the eleventh hour by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union.

French unions sign concession deal with automaker PSA

By Kumaran Ira, 30 July 2012

On July 26 trade unions accepted sweeping concessions proposed by the French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroën at its Sevelnord plant.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

27 July 2012

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UK: Sheffield recycling workers strike sold out

By Peter Reydt, 26 July 2012

At the beginning of this month, workers at five recycling centres in Sheffield voted to suspend their indefinite strike action and to resume normal work from Monday July 9.

European auto crisis requires a socialist answer

By Ulrich Rippert, 23 July 2012

The crisis in the European car industry is not of a temporary or conjunctural nature, but is rather a direct result of the international economic crisis and the austerity measures imposed by European governments at the behest of the banks.

UK ex-left groups cover up collapsing support for education unions

By Tania Kent and Chris Marsden, 23 July 2012

Marches organised July 14 by the NUT and NASUWT in Sheffield and Oxford were billed as a major new initiative in the fight to defend public sector pensions.

Opel CEO’s resignation heralds fresh round of cuts

By Dietmar Henning, 19 July 2012

The resignation of Opel boss Karl-Friedrich Stracke heralds a new round of plant closures and job losses in the European car industry.

Unions block fightback at Ireland’s Bord Na Mona

By Jordan Shilton, 16 July 2012

The 1,500 workforce at utility firm Bord Na Mona are in danger of being sold out by the trade union bureaucracy.

LO, NPA block struggle against PSA job cuts in France

By Kumaran Ira, 14 July 2012

The New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) and the Workers Struggle (LO) group have reacted to the announcement of 8,000 job cuts at French auto firm PSA by trying to block a working-class struggle against the cuts.

German Opel worker: “For nearly 10 years, it’s all been downhill”

By Dietmar Henning, 3 July 2012

If the management gets its way, the Opel plant in Bochum will close in two rather than four years.

Air France announces 5,000 job cuts

By Antoine Lerougetel, 28 June 2012

Air France-KLM will cut its workforce by 10 percent the end of 2013

German trade unions do the dirty work for Manroland management

By Marianne Arens, 22 June 2012

A recent court hearing graphically confirmed the role of the unions and works councils at Manroland, where they played the leading role as management consultant in implementing the company’s bankruptcy.

Sheffield UK recycling workers strike to go indefinite

By Peter Reydt, 21 June 2012

Workers at five recycling centres in Sheffield are to take indefinite strike action from Saturday if their dispute with the council is not resolved.

Miners strike escalates in Spain

By Paul Mitchell and Vicky Short, 14 June 2012

More than 8,000 miners in the Asturias region of Spain have been on indefinite strike since June 1 in protest of cuts to subsidies that threaten the industry with the loss of 40,000 jobs.

Schlecker drug store worker: “It is like organizing one’s own funeral”

By Ernst Wolff, 13 June 2012

Workers at the bankrupt Schlecker drug store chain expressed their anger with their trade union to our reporter.