Europe

Boris Johnson defends key adviser over flouting UK lockdown rules

By Robert Stevens, 25 May 2020

Cummings was one of the chief advocates for Britain’s “herd immunity” policy, based on the mass infection of the population with coronavirus.

Project Restart: English Premier League puts profit first, players’ health a poor second

By Paul Bond, 25 May 2020

The government aims to use televised play to break down public support for social distancing. The PL’s concerns are more directly financial.

Three UK meat processing workers die of COVID-19

By Barry Mason, 23 May 2020

The three died in different sections of Cranswick Convenience Foods factory in Wombwell, Barnsley.

UK local councils face financial collapse due to pandemic

By Dennis Moore, 23 May 2020

Social care spending could face a shortfall of £3.5 billion, placing up to 225,000 adult social care places at risk in the coming year.

As hundreds across Europe die daily from coronavirus

European Union pushes reopening of beach resorts and hotels for summer holiday season

By Jordan Shilton, 23 May 2020

Piling one lie on another, the EU Commission claimed its guidelines would restore “transport services across the EU while protecting the health of transport workers and passengers.”

Representatives from Germany’s parliamentary parties support far-right protests against coronavirus policies

By Christoph Vandreier, 23 May 2020

The far-right demonstrations in Germany are being used to drum up support for the dangerous policy of easing coronavirus pandemic restrictions and intimidate all opposition.

Widespread opposition to unsafe reopening of schools and day-care facilities in Germany

By Andy Niklaus and Ulrich Rippert, 23 May 2020

Social distancing has been abandoned in schools and no safety measures such as face masks are being provided.

Merkel and Macron’s European bailout: €500 billion for trade war and austerity

By Peter Schwarz, 22 May 2020

Merkel and Macron see the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to strengthen their countries’ position in the world market and reorganise the European economy in the interests of the major corporations.

UK Labour council, Community union reject appeal to close ASOS warehouse after confirmed COVID-19 cases

By Tony Robson, 22 May 2020

The defence of ASOS workers’ lives requires a fight against the veto that such corporations enjoy over workplace safety.

”We want to be back, but not at the costs of people’s lives”

UK teachers speak on government’s back-to-school plan

By our reporters, 22 May 2020

The WSWS spoke with teachers this week about their opposition to the Johnson government’s reopening of schools.

UK postal workers in Peterborough walk out; unions back reopening of French Amazon; Belgian medics protest

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

22 May 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

US prepares anti-Russian war games amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Andrea Peters, 21 May 2020

In a little over two weeks, 6,000 US and Polish troops will simulate ground and airborne attacks about 35 miles from the Russian territory of Kaliningrad.

Pandemic crisis: Tens of thousands of UK job losses announced

By Margot Miller, 21 May 2020

The jobs cull in the UK began in April as firms in retail and hospitality collapsed into administration after the imposition of lockdown, accelerating an already existing trend towards recession.

Education unions and Labour councils ready back-door imposition of Johnson government’s “back to school” plan

By Laura Tiernan, 21 May 2020

The decision to send nursery aged children—including babies and toddlers—and primary-aged students as young as 4, 5 and 6 back into schools was taken solely by Johnson and his cabinet of deranged Thatcherites.

The Berries of Wrath: Prince Charles demands “hard graft” from furloughed workers

By Robert Stevens, 21 May 2020

The Tories have long desired to replace cheap migrant labour with a native workforce so reduced to penury that they too will do backbreaking work for a pittance.

Coronavirus infections surging in German refugee shelters

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 21 May 2020

The forced placement of refugees in large communal accommodation facilities exposes many people whose health is weakened to a deadly risk.

UK: Johnson’s criminal “back-to-work” drive depends on the trade unions

By Chris Marsden and Thomas Scripps, 20 May 2020

The reopening of schools and non-essential workplaces must be opposed until they are made safe.

Letter from UK teaching assistant against reopening of schools

20 May 2020

Sarah, who works in a primary school in south Yorkshire, wrote to the WSWS about the Johnson government’s plans to reopen UK schools from June 1.

Sunday Times Rich Listers receive billions in UK government handouts

By Simon Whelan, 20 May 2020

The pandemic has exposed how those buccaneers of the “free market” are happy to claim government welfare.

NHS management said elderly would “have to die” in care homes

By Robert Stevens and John Stryder, 19 May 2020

Official statistics show that around 10,000 people have died in the UK’s care homes, but the real figure is at least double that.

Mass sackings as German department store group closes up to 80 stores

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 19 May 2020

Germany’s largest department store group, the merged Galeria Kaufhof Karstadt, is to close almost half of its stores.

UK police question suspect in spitting incident that led to rail worker’s death

By Michael Barnes, 19 May 2020

Belly Mujinga’s death produced a horrified reaction among rail workers and an outpouring of sympathy in the working class, but the deranged character of the attack also solicited an outpouring of crocodile tears from those who are ultimately responsible for creating the conditions that led to her death.

Britain’s covert operations to overthrow Syrian government exposed

By Jean Shaoul, 18 May 2020

Sarkha is one of many programmes in a vast network of fake news activities carried out by the intelligence arms of the US and European powers.

UK Royal Mail CEO Rico Back forced to resign: Next stage opens in postal workers’ struggle

By Paul Lee and Thomas Scripps, 18 May 2020

Back’s departure marks the beginning of a new offensive of which the Communication Workers Union “discussions” with the company form a crucial part.

COVID-19: Podemos, social-democrats prepare to send Spanish police against workers’ protests

By Alejandro López, 18 May 2020

The “left populist” Podemos party is backing plans for Civil Guards to attack working class protests and monitor social media for signs of online dissent.

Growing resistance in Germany to returning to schools as coronavirus pandemic continues

By Andy Niklaus and Carola Kleinert, 18 May 2020

Resistance is growing among German teachers and pupils against this irresponsible policy, which threatens to turn schools into new hotspots of COVID-19.

The last resort of the EU fighting refugees in Greece—armed force and COVID-19

By Katerina Selin, 18 May 2020

Greek soldiers used tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and live ammunition against refugees stranded in the no-man’s-land between Greece and Turkey.

German Defence Ministry plans to wage international drone warfare

By Gregor Link, 18 May 2020

Germany’s ruling elite is responding to the mounting tensions between the major powers triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic by intensifying its drive to war.

Spike in Kawasaki-like disease linked to coronavirus in France and Italy, one child dies

By Will Morrow, 18 May 2020

This is a damning indictment of capitalist governments internationally which are reopening schools and asserting that the virus does not harm children.

Coronavirus crisis exposes devastating conditions in the German meat processing industry

By Marianne Arens, 16 May 2020

German slaughterhouses have become coronavirus hotspots, with hundreds of workers, most of them sub-contracted from Eastern Europe, infected with the virus.

UK government ties Transport for London bailout to “back to work” drive

By Jean Shaoul, 16 May 2020

TfL, which runs the London Underground, bus and rail services, faced bankruptcy, threatening the Johnson government’s efforts to restore corporate profits.

Overwhelming opposition to reopening of UK schools amid worsening COVID-19 pandemic

By Tania Kent and Harvey Thompson, 16 May 2020

The closure of schools is a key measure recommended by medical experts internationally to reduce the infection and death rate from the coronavirus.

One dead and more than 600 Irish meat processing workers infected with coronavirus

By Robert Stevens, 16 May 2020

There are 23,956 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland and 1,518 deaths—one of the highest death ratios in the world. In Northern Ireland, 4,317 people have tested positive, with 469 deaths.

UK universities prepare all-out assault on staff and students in wake of pandemic

By Alice Summers, 15 May 2020

With the coronavirus pandemic leading to a drop in student numbers, up to 60,000 workers could lose their jobs as universities face a £2.5 billion funding black hole.

Rushed relaxation of coronavirus measures in Germany puts thousands of lives at risk

By Marianne Arens, 15 May 2020

With the general relaxation of the coronavirus measures, cases in schools, retirement homes, local transport, industry and the entire working population are inevitably on the rise again.

“Corona demonstrations” in Germany: Neo-Nazis join hands with Free Democrats, Christian Democrats and Left Party

By Peter Schwarz, 15 May 2020

The FDP’s leader in Thuringia, Thomas Kemmerich, participated in a demonstration against the measures put in place to restrict the spread of the coronavirus. Like other such mobilisations in Germany, it was dominated by the extreme right.

German auto bosses demand government subsidies and job cuts

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 15 May 2020

The German auto industry is using the coronavirus crisis to implement its long-planned transition to electro-mobility and digitalisation. Its main partner is the company union, the IG Metall.

Belgian bus drivers’ wildcat; South African bus drivers walk out over conditions; daily protests in Israel over government response to pandemic

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

15 May 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Former Georgian President Saakashvili becomes advisor to the Ukrainian government

By Jason Melanovski, 14 May 2020

The political return of the vociferously anti-Russian and cartoonish Saakashvilli to Ukraine is a sign of a profound crisis of the Ukrainian oligarchy.

German politicians and media laud right-wing demonstrations against coronavirus restrictions

By Christoph Vandreier, 13 May 2020

The ruling elite is now mobilising the right-wing dregs of society in the “corona” demonstrations to intimidate the population and enforce their back-to-work campaign.

33 London bus drivers killed by COVID-19: “We are expendable like diesel”

By Laura Tiernan, 13 May 2020

Workers fear infections will soar following Sunday night’s “phased exit” announced by the Johnson government

Failure to halt COVID-19 spread leads to mass deaths in Swedish elder care homes

By Jordan Shilton, 13 May 2020

Sweden’s high fatality rate is due to official opposition to a lockdown and mass testing, and to decades-long austerity policies that devastated health care and other key services.

UK: Exercise Cygnus leak confirms Tory government’s criminal inaction over pandemic threat

By Richard Tyler, 13 May 2020

The publication of a version of the report in the Guardian makes clear that the Johnson government tried to hide evidence of its criminal lack of preparation.

Jeremy Corbyn discovers the class struggle—and opposes it

By Thomas Scripps, 13 May 2020

The Socialist Campaign Group acknowledge the “class war” only in order to complain that Johnson is waging it rather than acting in the “national interest.”

While coronavirus spreads, lockdowns lifted across Europe

By Will Morrow, 12 May 2020

The mass return to work underway across Europe is in line with the criminal policy being pursued by the Trump administration in the United States.

Rising number of COVID-19 deaths in Germany’s retirement and care homes

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 12 May 2020

As the German government is effectively ending its coronavirus lockdown, reports about people dying of COVID-19 in retirement and care homes are increasing.

UK Labour Party and trade unions prop up dysfunctional Tory government

By Thomas Scripps, 12 May 2020

Johnson could not remain in power for a week if not for the slavish support lent to it by the Trades Union Congress and Starmer’s party

UK COVID-19 death rate far higher in working class

By Simon Whelan, 12 May 2020

Millions of workers employed in what the ONS terms “elementary” jobs, including cleaners and low-skilled construction workers, had the highest risk of death.

EU supports Orbán’s dictatorial measures in Hungary

By Markus Salzmann, 12 May 2020

Although similar to Hitler’s “Enabling Act,” which consolidated the Nazi dictatorship in Germany in 1933, Orbán’s Emergency Law enjoys the support of the European Union.

Polish government forced to call off presidential elections at last minute

By Clara Weiss, 12 May 2020

Polish media reports suggest that panic and chaos now reign in Warsaw.

Over 5 million live in families with hungry children since UK lockdown

By Harvey Singh, 11 May 2020

Before the lockdown, schools provided the threads of a safety net for struggling families through free school meals and breakfast clubs.

Hardship for UK carers worsens during coronavirus pandemic

By John Stryder, 11 May 2020

A carer of an elderly family member wrote to the WSWS about the problems faced by carers during the pandemic.

Podemos pushes “back to work” as Spanish army expects new COVID-19 outbreak

By Alejandro López, 11 May 2020

The state is placing the lives of millions of workers going back to work in danger, putting corporate profits above workers’ lives.

Hundreds of COVID-19 infections in German meatpacking plants

By Marianne Arens, 11 May 2020

Immigrants from Romania, who are the main workers in the German meatpacking industry, are now being struck down by COVID-19.

Verdict published in NSU trial: German court protects neo-Nazi André Eminger

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 11 May 2020

From the outset the intention of the NSU trial in Munich was to cover up the involvement of Germany’s domestic intelligence service and other security agencies.

Seventy-five years after the end of World War II

Right-wing ideologues in Germany demand sacrifice of human lives in coronavirus pandemic

By Christoph Vandreier, 11 May 2020

Three-quarters of a century after the end of the most brutal war in world history, the German ruling elite is returning to authoritarian and ultimately fascist policies to enforce militarism and inequality.

Strikes and workers’ protests mount against “back to work” campaign

By Shannon Jones, 9 May 2020

The incompetence and callous disregard for human life by the capitalist authorities in country after country is fueling an upsurge in the class struggle.

Number of COVID-19 cases hits 4 million worldwide

By Benjamin Mateus, 9 May 2020

The number of deaths has exceeded 275,000 and infections are growing. Yet, the stock markets continue to rise, despite unprecedented job losses.

Macron government ending coronavirus lockdown beginning this Monday

By Alex Lantier, 9 May 2020

The government’s reckless decision, in line with similar measures underway across Europe and the US, puts countless lives at risk.

French Senate votes to give officials legal indemnity over coronavirus infections

By Jacques Valentin, 9 May 2020

The provisions cover the entire period since the state declared a national health emergency in March, and apply to elected representatives, ministers, civil servants and employers.

Germany reopens schools, endangering thousands of lives

By Marianne Arens, 9 May 2020

Schools are being reopened in nearly all federal states and the risky measure is meeting with growing opposition from teachers.

British government forced to partially backtrack on ending lockdown

By Robert Stevens, 9 May 2020

The opposition among millions of workers and throughout the population was expressed in Thursday’s top trending hashtags #KeepTheLockdown and #extendthelockdown.

Homeless face desperation on London streets amid lockdown

By Charles Hixson, 9 May 2020

Those remaining on London’s streets face increased deprivation, as normal sources of food from distributors and food kitchens have gone.

NHS staff condemn UK health worker deaths and government herd immunity strategy

By our reporters, 9 May 2020

The UK has registered the highest number of fatalities in Europe from the virus, including at least 200 health and social care workers.

“The Fight for Our Lives” online rally

British pseudo-left and Stalinists unite in defence of Labour and the unions

By Thomas Scripps, 9 May 2020

What is meant by “unity” and “solidarity” is in fact an effort to subordinate workers to Labour and the unions by concealing their rotten dealings with employers and the government.

Greece comes out of lockdown and plans resumption of tourism

By John Vassilopoulos, 9 May 2020

The lifting of the measures, which will undo efforts that have lowered the spread and death rate from COVID-19, is of crucial importance to the Greek ruling elite.

German government ends lockdown, putting hundreds of thousands of lives at risk

By Johannes Stern, 8 May 2020

Three weeks after the decision of the federal and state governments to gradually withdraw the restrictions imposed in March, the end of the lockdown in Germany has largely been completed.

UK government covers up PPE shortages leading to health care worker deaths

By Alice Summers, 8 May 2020

Inquests into medical worker deaths from coronavirus will not address government failure to provide personal protective equipment, even as many health care workers still lack adequate equipment.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

8 May 2020

South African nurses’ stayaway defies premature lockdown end; health workers in South Africa, Kenya, refuse workers in UK, demand personal protection equipment.

Italian statistics agency reveals real coronavirus death toll is higher by 12,000

By Will Morrow, 7 May 2020

Even as the coronavirus pandemic’s scale is being covered up, Italian authorities have begun a full re-opening of the economy that will kills tens of thousands.

European media launches propaganda lies blaming China for COVID-19

By Alex Lantier, 7 May 2020

European governments’ handling of the pandemic shows they place far more value on their strategic aims against China in Eurasia than on workers’ lives at home.

German government plans purchase of 138 fighter jets and prepares for nuclear war

By Gregor Link and Johannes Stern, 7 May 2020

Germany’s government is preparing to purchase 93 Eurofighters and 45 US-made F-18 fighter jets for a total cost of almost €20 billion.

German auto companies demand even more state money

By Ulrich Rippert, 7 May 2020

Along with hunting for government stimulus packages, the auto companies are ramping up production again despite the dangers to workers' health and lives.

UK Chancellor Sunak to wind down furlough wage scheme as part of back-to-work offensive

By Robert Stevens and Julie Hyland, 7 May 2020

The furlough scheme is being ended with workers facing either going back into work in unsafe conditions, in the middle of a deadly pandemic, or losing their jobs.

Deaths surge in UK care homes

By Stephen Alexander, 7 May 2020

Data based on death notifications directly from care homes recorded 6,391 COVID-19 fatalities between April 10 and May 1.

Pseudo-left groups block fight by London bus drivers against COVID-19

By Laura Tiernan, 7 May 2020

The pseudo-left are seeking to prevent workers from making a break with Labour and the unions and turning to a socialist perspective.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the class war in Europe

By Alex Lantier, 7 May 2020

The working class now faces a struggle on two fronts: the war against COVID-19, and the class war.

The back-to-work campaign in Germany and the resurgence of the far right

By Christoph Vandreier, 7 May 2020

With its criminal back-to-work campaign, the German government is accepting the deaths of millions of workers in order to secure the profits of the rich and continue the bonanza in the financial markets.

Playing Russian roulette with hundreds of thousands of lives

German big business demands end to lockdown

By Peter Schwarz, 6 May 2020

Two weeks after the initial lifting of some of the coronavirus lockdown's restrictions in Germany, demands for its total abandonment have reached fever pitch.

UK coronavirus death rate at record high in Europe as fatalities pass 32,000

By Robert Stevens, 6 May 2020

Deaths reach record levels as thousands of new coronavirus cases continue to be reported daily in Britain—with another 4,406 yesterday and a total of 194,990.

UK: TUC and Labour attempt damage control after Tories push murderous “back to work” strategy

By Chris Marsden, 6 May 2020

The attempt by Labour and the trade unions to feign concern for the working class is laughable, given that they have functioned in a de facto national unity government with the Tories.

French unions complicit in Macron’s May 11 return-to-work policy

By Anthony Torres and Alex Lantier, 6 May 2020

The CGT is refusing to call any strike action as Macron is pushing workers back into their workplaces next Monday.

British government bailout for big business: An act of robbery

By Richard Tyler, 6 May 2020

While the FTSE 100 index plummeted in early March, losing over 2,000 points, it has already gained 1,000 points since the injection of vast sums of public money into the private sector.

German authorities press charges in Lübcke murder case

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 6 May 2020

The neo-Nazi Stephan Ernst is accused of having shot leading Christian Democratic politician Walter Lübcke in cold blood on the terrace of his home on the night of June 2, 2019.

Denmark buys unreliable antibody tests to enforce back-to-work amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Jordan Shilton, 5 May 2020

Social Democrat Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen said reopening schools is necessary so parents could get back to work and “get the economy going again.”

Assange extradition hearing rescheduled for September

By Thomas Scripps, 5 May 2020

The British state continues to obstruct both Assange’s ability to conduct his defence and journalists’ ability to report on the case in detail.

UK Royal Mail workers oppose Communications Workers Union sellout

By our reporter, 5 May 2020

Many workers responded with hostility to the CWU’s announcement accepting the ending of Saturday letter deliveries and calling off threatened industrial action.

UK postal worker: “Royal Mail are getting what they want and the Communication Workers Union is allowing it—the union really is useless”

5 May 2020

This letter was sent by a postal worker to the SEP (UK) in response to the CWU claiming to have forced Royal Mail Group to back down from plans to end permanently Saturday deliveries, which would cost 20,000 jobs.

Scientists set up independent committee to challenge UK government’s COVID-19 response: “there is no transparency”

By Laura Tiernan, 5 May 2020

Professor David King pointed to daily media briefings with scientists standing alongside government ministers, stating “that is very different from being free to say what your advice is.”

Think tank sees coronavirus crisis as “opportunity” for German militarism

By Gregor Link, 4 May 2020

The German Council on Foreign Relations calls for a “comprehensive conflict strategy” in order to emerge “even stronger” from the crisis.

Austria lifts most measures to counter coronavirus pandemic

By Markus Salzmann, 4 May 2020

Despite the continuing spread of COVID-19 throughout Europe, the government has adopted a pioneering “easing policy,” posing a deadly risk for hundreds of thousands of people.

UK Nightingale field hospitals to be “mothballed” as coronavirus death toll reaches 28,446

By Alice Summers, 4 May 2020

The new Nightingale facilities were meant to provide overflow capacity to overwhelmed hospitals, but patients have been turned away due to a lack of suitable equipment or staff.

Scotland: Journalist Craig Murray charged with contempt of court over Alex Salmond trial

By Steve James, 4 May 2020

Journalist Craig Murray could face up to two years in jail following his reporting of the trial of former SNP leader Alex Salmond.

ASOS warehouse workers: Lives versus corporate profit in the UK

By Tony Robson, 4 May 2020

The struggle by ASOS workers has demonstrated that they cannot rely on the local authority, state bodies or the unions for protection.

Euro zone economy contracts at record pace

By Nick Beams, 2 May 2020

The European Central Bank has taken the same road as the US Fed, committing itself to pump still more money across the board into the financial markets.

German government accelerates its deadly back-to-work initiative

By Johannes Stern, 2 May 2020

Despite the continuing spread of the COVID-19 internationally, the German government is accelerating its lifting of the limited restrictions imposed to prevent transmission of the virus.

Nearly 300 meat-processing workers infected by coronavirus at German slaughterhouse

By Marianne Arens, 2 May 2020

While almost 300 workers at a Baden-Württemberg slaughterhouse have COVID-19, the plant remains open.

Germany: Daimler trains managers to kick out workers

By Ulrich Rippert, 2 May 2020

Daimler department heads and other managers are being trained to put pressure on individual workers to “implement the job cuts as smoothly as possible.”

Germany’s Lufthansa: Billions in state aid and mass layoffs

By Peter Schwarz, 2 May 2020

The airline unions are appealing to Chancellor Merkel for state intervention.

UK: Delays to medical treatment during pandemic will cost thousands of lives

By Jean Gibney, 2 May 2020

Reports claim that deaths due to the disruption of cancer services alone are likely to outnumber deaths from the coronavirus itself over the next five years.