Europe

Communication Workers Union folds 48 hours after Royal Mail threatens 20,000 jobs

By Thomas Scripps, 2 May 2020

Having initially warned of strike action against the ending of Saturday deliveries, the CWU organised a shameless retreat.

Russia: Two ministers, one deputy test positive for COVID as workers’ protests grow

By Clara Weiss, 2 May 2020

Just one day after Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin was hospitalized for COVID-19, the minister for construction, housing and communal services and his deputy also tested positive.

Johnson pledges to “restart the economy” as pandemic rages in UK

By Robert Stevens, 1 May 2020

The continuing loss of life barely registered with a national media obsessed with reporting which chain store is opening its doors, when the lockdown “exit strategy” might be announced, and the prime minister’s new baby.

Sixty-eight Amazon workers fall ill with COVID-19 at Winsen, Germany warehouse

By Marianne Arens, 1 May 2020

While Amazon has profited massively from the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of its workers throughout the world have become infected with COVID-19.

French teachers’ strike threat against premature end to lockdown; South African and Zimbabwean nurses protest lack of PPE

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

1 May 2020

Protests are continuing against attempts to restart operations in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic without proper safeguards, including French teachers, German doctors and nurses in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Spain ends confinement, moving to “new normal” as COVID-19 cases rise

By Alejandro López, 30 April 2020

On Tuesday evening, Sánchez outlined his government’s plan under the name “ Transition Plan to a New Normal.”

Sweden forced to admit significant under-counting of coronavirus deaths

By Jordan Shilton, 30 April 2020

Sweden did not impose a lock-down and even delayed issuing social distancing guidelines, leading to more deaths and pushing the health system to the limit.

Prime Minister Philippe announces premature end of the lockdown in France

By Alexandre Lantier and Anthony Torres, 30 April 2020

The decision puts hundreds of thousands of lives at risk that have been saved by the insistence of the working class on measures to contain the disease.

UK coronavirus death toll passes 26,000 as government admits to 4,000 fatalities outside hospitals

By Robert Stevens, 30 April 2020

The UK is fast becoming the centre of the pandemic in Europe and is set to surpass the 27,682 deaths already recorded in Italy.

British Airways announces 12,000 redundancies amid global airline jobs massacre

By Thomas Scripps, 30 April 2020

The job losses will devastate tens of thousands and are a warning to workers of the economic “reconstruction” being prepared by the ruling elite in the wake of the pandemic.

Profits before human life: German parliament president Schäuble wins broad support in the establishment

By Peter Schwarz, 30 April 2020

The German ruling class is marking the 75th anniversary of Hitler’s suicide in the Führer bunker by discussing how many human lives should be sacrificed in the coronavirus crisis.

German students oppose reopening of schools

By our reporters, 30 April 2020

Under the slogan “average grade 2020,” students are demanding the suspension of final exams and the closing of schools so long as the lives of students, teachers and their relatives are at risk from COVID-19.

UK postal worker says: Royal Mail workers need to set up rank-and-file committees

29 April 2020

This article was submitted to the World Socialist Web Site by a UK postal worker.

BBC Panorama exposes government responsibility for UK health worker deaths

By Thomas Scripps, 29 April 2020

Using documents from within the NHS supply chain, the investigation rips apart ministers’ claims to have provided 1 billion items of personal protective equipment in the last two months.

COVID-19 infection at sporting fixtures underscores criminality of Johnson government’s herd immunity policy

By Barry Mason, 29 April 2020

It was only due to growing opposition that the government was forced to impose a lockdown. But much of the damage had already been done, as evidenced by its allowing three sporting events to take place.

Spain’s Podemos party acquiesces to legal persecution of its member Isabel Serra

By Alejandro López, 28 April 2020

Serra was sentenced to a draconian 18 months in prison and a €2000 fine for attending a protest against the eviction of a disabled person in a working class area of Madrid.

German parliament president calls for sacrificing lives for corporate profits

By Johannes Stern, 28 April 2020

The ruling class’s back-to-work offensive, which threatens a major resurgence of COVID-19, has long been accompanied by a media-driven campaign with fascistic characteristics.

EU steps up push for return to work amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Alex Lantier, 27 April 2020

The decision to lift confinement measures in the middle of a pandemic—23,680 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed yesterday across Europe—is politically criminal.

Application for delay in Assange extradition hearing as COVID-19 sweeps through UK prisons

By Alice Summers, 27 April 2020

The vindictive suspension of the COVID-19 prisoner release programme demonstrates the criminal disregard of the British ruling class for the lives of prisoners.

Workers at Dublin Bus rebel at lack of personal protective equipment

By Dermot Byrne, 27 April 2020

One Irish driver explained: “There is a general feeling the union doesn’t act in the interests of the bus workers.”

Police in Seine-Saint-Denis suburbs of Paris prepare for food riots

By Anthony Torres, 27 April 2020

Hundreds of thousands of people in working class suburbs risk falling ill in frontline jobs, or going hungry while sheltering at home without any state support.

Germany: Daimler and VW boost production and demand billions in taxpayers’ money

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 27 April 2020

Although around 2,500 people in Germany are being infected with the coronavirus every day, Daimler and Volkswagen both restarted car production this week.

Romanian harvest worker in Germany dies of COVID-19

By Anna Rombach and Marianne Arens, 27 April 2020

The death of the 57-year-old Nicolae Bahan has cast a grim light on the terrible conditions confronting harvest workers coming from Eastern Europe to toil in Germany ’ s fields.

Leaked UK Labour Party anti-Semitism report: A filthy witch-hunt exposed

By Thomas Scripps, 27 April 2020

The leak of the Labour Party investigation marks an appropriate endpoint to Corbyn’s five-year record of political surrender and collusion.

Estimated £515 monthly loss to UK households due to COVID-19 the tip of the iceberg

By Julia Callaghan, 27 April 2020

Households will suffer an overall £43 billion loss—equating to a 17 percent reduction in monthly household disposable income.

Netherlands’ criminal herd-immunity policy puts hospitals on brink of collapse

By Harm Zonderland and Parwini Zora, 27 April 2020

The Dutch government’s “intelligent lockdown” strategy adopted since March 16 places capitalist profits above workers’ lives, risking countless thousands of deaths.

German government endangers the health and lives of millions with return to work and schools

By Johannes Stern, 25 April 2020

A number of state governments—including the Social Democrat/Left Party/Green government in Berlin—forced thousands of students back to school earlier this week to sit their final exams.

Spain: Podemos Labour Ministry accepts that hundreds of thousands will die from COVID-19

By Alejandro López, 25 April 2020

Podemos bases its policy of forcing nonessential workers back to work in Spain on its willingness to accept millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Macron government uses more lies to push May 11 return to work

By Will Morrow, 25 April 2020

The government is downplaying the disastrous impact that an end to confinement will have on the spread of COVID-19.

Scottish National Party spearheads UK-wide return to work campaign

By Robert Stevens, 25 April 2020

First Minister Sturgeon’s supposed “progressive” credentials, backed in Scotland, England and Wales by Labour and the trade unions, offer an avenue for big business and banks to engineer a political shift towards a return to work.

COVID-19 pandemic pushes UK charity sector into crisis

By Ben Trent, 25 April 2020

Charities set to lose up to £4 billion over a 12-week period because of the coronavirus pandemic.

UK: Millions of pounds donated to the National Health Service as coronavirus crisis continues

By Alice Summers, 25 April 2020

A fundraising page for the NHS, set up by 99-year-old war veteran Captain Tom Moore, received overwhelming public support, raising more than £28 million in two weeks.

Coronavirus sweeps through Russian medical facilities

By Andrea Peters, 25 April 2020

Hospitals and clinics in several cities have been placed under quarantine, as COVID-19 infects staff and patients alike.

Unions collude with companies to keep non-essential UK ASOS warehouse and retail businesses running during pandemic

By Joe Mount and Tony Robson, 24 April 2020

The GMB trade union has isolated the struggle of ASOS workers against unsafe conditions and told them to put their faith in the company “to do the right thing.”

London bus drivers say: “Give public transport workers protection or shut it down”

By Miles Driver and Laura Tiernan, 24 April 2020

Drivers told the WSWS about the unsafe working conditions being enforced by the Johnson government, private bus operators, Transport for London and London Labour Party Mayor Sadiq Khan, in collaboration with the unions.

COVID-19 deaths in Scotland 79 percent higher than official figures

By Stephen Alexander, 24 April 2020

The impact of this deadly policy has fallen overwhelmingly on the poor, densely populated areas in deindustrialised centres of the working class.

Workers protests continue over lack of personal protective equipment; South African unions back premature reopening of the mines

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

24 April 2020

Workers protests continued over lack of protective equipment as South African miners mobilized to oppose a premature return to work.

Britain’s coronavirus testing fiasco is a product of herd immunity strategy

By Thomas Scripps, 23 April 2020

The government claims to have established a daily testing capacity of 40,000 but only half that number is being carried out.

European Union summit argues over corona bonds

By Peter Schwarz, 23 April 2020

A bitter struggle is raging between the EU member states over how the trillions should be distributed and who will pay for it.

Unrest spreads in France in response to police brutality

By Will Morrow, 23 April 2020

While sparked by the latest act of wanton police violence, the riots are more fundamentally driven by popular anger over social inequality and the right-wing policies of the Macron administration.

Amazon shuts down French distribution centers after court requires protection of employees from coronavirus

By Will Morrow, 22 April 2020

The closure is a naked act of economic blackmail, using Amazon’s control over logistics infrastructure to sabotage the distribution of essential goods.

Germany: Opening Berlin schools risks the lives of teachers, pupils and their families

By Carola Kleinert and Andy Niklaus, 22 April 2020

“We must learn to live with the pandemic,” Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed.

As COVID-19 deaths pass 17,000, UK corporations scramble for bailout funds

By Robert Stevens, 22 April 2020

In what it described as a "conservative estimate", the Financial Times concluded that its analysis of official data reveals "The coronavirus pandemic has already caused as many as 41,000 deaths in the UK".

Germany’s Left Party backs multibillion-euro bailout of banks and big business

By Johannes Stern, 22 April 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has thoroughly exposed the class character and political orientation of the Left Party and its pseudo-left satellites.

UK government in crisis over back-to-work drive

By Steve James, 21 April 2020

Boris Johnson’s government would like to exit the coronavirus lockdown as quickly as possible to restart the extraction of profit from the working class.

Europe’s pandemic death toll passes 100,000

By Robert Stevens, 20 April 2020

The five major states in Europe—Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK—account for around 85,000 of the 100,000 plus deaths.

UK think tank urges pension cuts to pay for pandemic

By Margot Miller, 20 April 2020

Anticipating rising unemployment and collapsing wages, the Social Market Foundation urges the Conservative government to abandon the “triple-lock” mechanism.

Millions in the UK go hungry in the shadow of COVID-19

By Harvey Singh, 20 April 2020

As well as a food crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, deteriorating housing conditions are a major negative factor for workers, placing them at increased risk of infection.

Spanish workers strike against being forced to work without protection

By Alejandro López, 20 April 2020

Telepizza workers are striking as the Socialist Party-Podemos coalition government orders millions of workers back to work facing unsafe conditions.

French prime minister outlines end to quarantine as coronavirus deaths reach almost 20,000

By Will Morrow, 20 April 2020

Neither Philippe nor Health Minister Véran provided any rational scientific or medical basis, during this health crisis, for the reopening of the economy planned on May 11.

Over 1,000 sailors on French carrier Charles de Gaulle sick with COVID-19

By Anthony Torres, 20 April 2020

The French Navy refused to allow the ship’s commanding officer to stop its mission while the coronavirus spread like wildfire among the crew.

How German CEOs are profiting from the coronavirus crisis

By Peter Schwarz, 20 April 2020

An article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung details how the executives of major German corporations are raking in millions from the COVID-19 crisis.

German automakers, unions and government collaborate to restart production

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 18 April 2020

Germany’s automakers and the IG Metall trade union are demanding that production be restarted.

Big business representatives defend hospital closures in Germany

By Markus Salzmann, 18 April 2020

Economist Boris Augurzky claims that there are too many hospitals, and has called for the crisis to be used to further reduce the number of facilities.

European states demand return to work as COVID-19 cases top 1 million

By Johannes Stern and Alex Lantier, 17 April 2020

By preparing to order workers back to work amid a raging pandemic, European governments are risking the lives of millions of workers and those close to them.

Bournemouth nurse’s letter to WSWS prompts widespread discussion on dangers facing NHS workers during COVID-19 pandemic

By Alice Summers, 17 April 2020

The letter describes the appalling conditions in the hospital's COVID-19 ward and the anger of healthcare workers at management’s failure to provide adequate PPE and towards Boris Johnson’s Conservative government.

UK universities use coronavirus crisis to make hundreds of temporary staff redundant

By Simon Whelan, 17 April 2020

Three British universities have announced hundreds of temporary contract redundancies in order to make financial savings, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

Workers protest lack of personal protective equipment as unions support premature back to work drive

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

17 April 2020

Fiat Chrysler in Italy has set May for the resumption of partial production while nurses in Ireland, South Africa and Malawi stage protests against lack of personal protective equipment.

French President Macron announces a premature end to quarantine in the interests of the financial elite

By Alex Lantier, 16 April 2020

Emmanuel Macron delivered a televised address to the French public on Monday night to defend his government’s disastrous response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Royal Mail’s putting profits before safety results in deaths of UK postal workers

By Paul Lee and Richard Tyler, 16 April 2020

Even now, as postal workers are dying and the danger of infection is massive, the Communication Workers Union refuses to pull the whole workforce out on strike until Royal Mail can guarantee their safety.

Thousands of UK care home residents dead in COVID-19 pandemic

By Robert Stevens, 16 April 2020

For the ruling elite, the elderly are viewed as a drain on resources and a burden on the further accumulation of personal wealth and corporate profit.

Munich tram drivers speak out on dangerous conditions during coronavirus pandemic

By our reporters, 16 April 2020

Reports from two tram drivers illustrate the irresponsible actions of the MVG management putting workers at increased risk of infection and death.

German National Academy of Sciences demands reopening of primary schools

By Peter Schwarz, 15 April 2020

The call for human life to be weighed against economic value runs through the statement from start to finish.

Deaths continue to soar as European governments step up back-to-work plans

By Alice Summers, 15 April 2020

Another 27,531 Covid-19 cases in Europe were reported Tuesday, bringing the total to nearly one million.

The global elite seek their pandemic retreats

By Paul Bond, 15 April 2020

The rapacious quest for pandemic hideouts by the super-rich starkly demonstrates the waste of societal resources under capitalism.

Greek medical workers demand funds to combat coronavirus pandemic

By John Vassilopoulos, 15 April 2020

Greece only had 560 intensive care unit beds as the pandemic began, 6 per 1 million inhabitants compared to 29.2 in Germany.

Germany: Hesse politicians and employers expose workers to risk of COVID-19 infection

By Marianne Arens, 15 April 2020

Refuse workers report how they are given no protection and are expected to travel home in their dirty overalls.

Spanish workers furious as unions support “back to work” in COVID-19 pandemic

By Alejandro López, 14 April 2020

Working class anger is rising against the Socialist Party-Podemos government, which forced millions of non-essential workers back to work yesterday

German airline Lufthansa receives multibillion-euro bailout, prepares to cut 18,000 jobs

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 14 April 2020

Europe’s largest airline, is exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to implement long-planned attacks on their workforces.

Boris Johnson’s praise for the National Health Service: Hypocrisy without limit

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 14 April 2020

It will not be long before Johnson’s words of praise for the NHS will be nothing but a bitter memory, cited by angry doctors and nurses as the Tories resume their efforts to destroy it.

UK NHS workers speak to the WSWS: “Is it worth clapping the NHS without ensuring the safety of frontline workers?”

By our reporters, 14 April 2020

Several NHS workers have contacted the WSWS following the attacks by Conservative Health Minister Matt Hancock, who accused NHS staff of wasting personal protective equipment resources.

A letter from a frontline nurse at the UK’s Royal Bournemouth Hospital

14 April 2020

The WSWS received the following letter in response to the statement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson following his discharge from hospital.

No work without protection! Berlin transport worker issues appeal for independent workers committees

By Andy Niklaus, 14 April 2020

A serious fight against the coronavirus pandemic must focus on the interests of the broad masses of the population, not the profits of the wealthy few.

COVID-19 deaths surpass 76,000 in Europe as Spanish government sends millions back to work

By Robert Stevens, 13 April 2020

More than 30 National Health Service workers are reported to have died as the UK’s death toll rises above 10,000.

“If we stop working, nothing will move here anymore!”

German nurses, carers, transport and delivery workers raise their voices

By Ulrich Rippert, 13 April 2020

It is the workers, not the capitalists, who are essential to social life.

Spanish unions support back-to-work order amid raging pandemic

By Alejandro López, 13 April 2020

The order threatens to lead to hundreds of thousands of more infections and tens of thousands of deaths, while big business reaps massive profits.

“I have lost faith in the system itself”

Fired researcher Mauro Ferrari denounces EU inaction on COVID-19

By Alex Lantier, 13 April 2020

Distinguished scientist Mauro Ferrari was forced to resign as European Research Council president after calling for a coordinated struggle against the pandemic.

European Union to spend half a trillion euros on imperialist interests in coronavirus bailout

By Peter Schwarz, 13 April 2020

After two days of bitter disputes, the EU finance ministers agreed on a coronavirus bailout worth €500 billion.

Union seeks to block strike as Polish Amazon workers contract COVID-19

By Clara Weiss, 13 April 2020

The union seeks to prevent a strike under conditions where the coronavirus pandemic is starkly exposing the devastating consequences of the restoration of capitalism.

Julian Assange’s partner Stella Moris speaks out: “His life is on the brink”

By Oscar Grenfell, 13 April 2020

Moris’s comments are a moving refutation of the media smears directed against Assange and underscore the urgency of the fight for his immediate freedom.

European governments plot return to work in midst of pandemic

By Thomas Scripps, 11 April 2020

As plans were being hatched over how to impose a return to work, over 4,000 new pandemic deaths were reported in Europe on Friday, bringing the total for the continent to over 70,000.

Spanish government to force workers in non-essential industries back to work

By Alejandro López, 11 April 2020

Podemos and the Spanish social democrats are needlessly sacrificing thousands of workers’ lives in order to boost corporate profits amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

German hospitals become COVID-19 hotspots for health care workers

By Markus Salzmann, 11 April 2020

According to the Robert Koch Institute, more than 2,300 doctors and nurses have been infected with coronavirus in Germany.

UK: Heathrow Airport demands workers to take pay cut or face dismissal

By Alice Summers, 11 April 2020

With significantly reduced air traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic, Heathrow Airport told thousands of workers that they must accept a 15 percent wage reduction, or they will lose their jobs.

New Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer pledges stepped-up “anti-Semitism” witch-hunt

By Thomas Scripps, 11 April 2020

Even prior to his election, Starmer was at pains to reposition himself to be acceptable to the Zionist and Blairite right.

A year since the arrest of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 April 2020

Assange’s arrest was an historic crime, setting a precedent for escalating attacks on press freedom and the democratic rights of the working class.

Europe’s investors celebrate stock market rally as thousands die of COVID-19

By Jordan Shilton, 10 April 2020

While over 4,100 people died of COVID-19 yesterday, stock markets finished the week with huge gains as the ruling elite’s plan to force workers back to work emerges.

UK government ignored scientific advice and treated COVID-19 as a public order issue

By Robert Stevens, 10 April 2020

Behavioural scientists played an extraordinary and unwarranted part in determining government policy, compared with the input of medical professionals.

Lack of ventilators in UK means patients left to die

By Margot Miller, 10 April 2020

“Doctors have to explain to patients over 70, with no underlying health issues, that the doctor has to make a decision to sign a do-not-resuscitate order, because there are no ventilators”—NHS doctor

After 14 London transport workers die: Unite union and Labour mayor insist “PPE is not required”

By Michael Barnes and Laura Tiernan, 10 April 2020

COVID-19 has claimed almost 2,000 lives in the capital and 8,000 across the UK, with bus drivers demanding urgent safety measures to prevent more deaths.

London bus drivers speak out: “They are doing absolutely nothing to protect us!”

By Laura Tiernan and Michael Barnes, 10 April 2020

London bus drivers told the World Socialist Web Site that the lack of basic safety being enforced by the private bus operators, Transport for London, and the unions is putting lives at risk.

Deaths from COVID-19 mount in German elderly care homes

By Markus Salzmann, 10 April 2020

The large number of deaths stems from the failure to implement timely countermeasures or follow them, a shortage of staff, overworked personnel and the absence of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Russia’s workers sent back to factories as coronavirus continues to spread

By Andrea Peters, 10 April 2020

Industrial and manufacturing enterprises are reopening in Russia, even as thousands of new infections are reported daily.

EU talks on COVID-19 pandemic response collapse

By Alex Lantier and Johannes Stern, 9 April 2020

With over 700,000 sick and nearly 60,000 dead of COVID-19 across Europe, EU governments clashed bitterly over how to bail out the continent’s banks.

“Managers, directors and council leaders should be held to account if people become ill or die”

UK social worker speaks out on unsafe conditions sanctioned by management and unions

By our correspondent, 9 April 2020

The WSWS spoke to a children’s social worker in a Local Authority in northern England about the conditions she and her clients face amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

UK social care system faces collapse amid spike in coronavirus deaths

By Stephen Alexander, 9 April 2020

Mass deaths and runaway infections have begun to rip through UK residential and nursing home facilities, bringing adult social care services to the brink of collapse.

Hundreds of thousands of UK jobs threatened as coronavirus spreads

By Margot Miller, 9 April 2020

The loss of thousands of jobs only confirms that the government's £370 billion emergency bailout fund to big business is doing next to nothing to protect the working class from the loss of their livelihoods.

Germany: Weighing economic interests vs. human life in the coronavirus pandemic

By Peter Schwarz, 9 April 2020

The German media are again openly discussing how much a human life is worth and how many lives should be sacrificed to the interests of the economy.

British prime minister: A victim of his “herd immunity” policy

By Robert Stevens, 8 April 2020

Whatever Johnson’s personal fate, the herd immunity policy that landed him seriously ill in hospital has already contributed to many infections and thousands of deaths nationwide.

Postal workers at four UK depots take unofficial strike action over lack of safety measures

By Paul Lee, 8 April 2020

Weeks into the pandemic, postal workers are still not able to social distance and have a lack of personal protection equipment when out delivering mail.