European Workers Issues

Dutch health care strike: The defense of health care requires a socialist perspective

By Parwini Zora and Harm Zonderland, 20 November 2019

Dutch health care workers are taking a stand with the first-ever nationwide strike, as part of the international resurgence of the class struggle.

Germany: Volkswagen pays works council members millions

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 19 November 2019

The public prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig has now brought charges against four VW managers, accused of paying excessive salaries and bonuses to five works council representatives.

The German government’s “basic pension” bluff

By Marianne Arens, 15 November 2019

The new measure will not improve the lot of poor pensioners. Rather, the grand coalition government hopes to secure its survival so as to pursue its great power policies and militarist aims.

National strike of postal workers in Finland; mass strikes in Algeria; struggles continue in Lebanon and Zimbabwe

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

15 November 2019

About 9,000 Finnish postal workers at the state-owned Posti walked out Monday while mass protests continue in Algeria and Lebanon and the strike by Zimbabwe doctors has spread following sackings.

UK High Court bans strike by 110,000 Royal Mail postal workers

By Robert Stevens, 14 November 2019

In response to the ruling, unofficial walkouts by postal workers must be organised and linked up with other workers throughout the delivery and communication industry and other sectors coming into struggle.

Germany: Berlin rent cap—a deceptive manoeuvre

By Tino Jacobson and Markus Salzmann, 13 November 2019

The rent cap will not stop the enrichment of the rent sharks, provide affordable housing for all, or hide the right-wing and anti-social policies of the parties controlling the Berlin Senate.

German defence minister calls for expansion of foreign military interventions

By Peter Schwarz, 11 November 2019

In a keynote address, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer declared, “there is broad agreement that, given the strategic challenges, Germany must ... “do more to defend our values and interests.”

Defying their unions, Dutch teachers stage countrywide one-day strike

By Harm Zonderland and Parwini Zora, 9 November 2019

The teachers’ action was the latest in a series of mass protests across the country, which has been dubbed an “autumn of discontent.”

UK’s Royal Mail seeks legal action to prevent postal strike

By Robert Stevens, 9 November 2019

Royal Mail intends to impose conditions now widespread throughout the “gig economy.” The Communication Workers Union have done everything possible to avert industrial action.

A tale of two UK Labour MPs—Chris Williamson and Tom Watson

By Laura Tiernan and Chris Marsden, 8 November 2019

Williamson, a Labour Party member for 43 years, has been Corbyn’s most prominent defender against the efforts by Labour’s Blairite wing to remove him as leader.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

Zimbabwe nurses join doctors’ stoppage; One-day nationwide strike by Dutch teachers

8 November 2019

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

Flight attendants to take further strike action at Lufthansa

By Marianne Arens, 7 November 2019

Germany’s main airline, Lufthansa, faces a 48-hour strike by cabin crew on Thursday and Friday.

UK: 1,000 Asda supermarket workers threatened with sack for rejecting new contract

By Margot Miller, 6 November 2019

The new contract imposes flexible working, ends long-service benefits, paid tea breaks and time off during bank holidays.

Croatian education workers strike continues, Zimbabwe doctors on strike for two months

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

1 November 2019

Seven hundred Croation educators have walked out in a program of rotating strikes while Zimbabwe doctors are continuing an action over the erosion of pay due to inflation.

Mass rally against jailing of Catalan nationalists in Barcelona

By Alejandro López, 28 October 2019

Two weeks before the November 10 general elections in Spain, hundreds of thousands marched in Barcelona Saturday afternoon.

National strike of Croatian educators; Zimbabwe doctors’ stoppage into seventh week

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

25 October 2019

Lecturers and non-teaching staff have called weekly walkouts to press for pay increases in Croatia, while doctors in Zimbabwe are locked in an increasingly bitter battle with the government.

General strike paralyzes Catalonia as over half-a-million demonstrate in Barcelona

By Alejandro López, 19 October 2019

Broad sections of youth and workers mobilized to protest the police state that is emerging in Spain, and more broadly across Europe.

Zimbabwe doctors’ six-week strike continues in defiance of courts; German airline cabin crew to walk out Saturday

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

19 October 2019

Doctors in Zimbabwe are demanding their wages be pegged to the US dollar in the face of runaway inflation while Lufthansa cabin crew plan to strike Saturday over wages.

Video report: Britain's postal union suppresses overwhelming vote for strike at Royal Mail

By our reporter, 18 October 2019

A 97 percent strike vote by over 110,000 postal workers in Britain was met with an immediate rebuke by the Communication Workers Union, who declined to set any date for a walkout.

After overwhelming strike vote at Royal Mail Group rank-and-file postal workers need a socialist strategy

By the Socialist Equality Party (UK), 16 October 2019

Postal workers are determined to fight the relentless assault that has followed privatisation. But the CWU’s sole aim is to pressure management to resume negotiations.

Communication Workers Union defies strike mandate, pledges to continue talks with Royal Mail

By our reporter, 16 October 2019

Instead of setting a date for strike action, CWU officials announced a plan to lobby individual shareholders.

Germany: Thousands of job cuts at Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank

By Gustav Kemper, 16 October 2019

The banks have pursued savage restructuring plans at the expense of their workforces so as to boost payouts to shareholders.

Halt the jobs massacre in the UK auto industry: For a joint struggle at Honda, Nissan, Ford and Vauxhall

By Richard Tyler, 15 October 2019

The trade unions have deliberately isolated and separated the workforce at the Honda production plant and at the logistics facility, rather than seeking to mobilise a joint struggle.

Germany’s IG Metall union calls for alliance with government and corporations against workers

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 15 October 2019

IG Metall is offering the services of its apparatus to ensure labour peace in the factories and impose the cuts demanded by Germany’s ruling elite.

Iranian Haft Tappeh sugar workers’ strike resumes; Zimbabwe’s doctors’ five-week strike continues

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

11 October 2019

Workers at the Haft Tappeh sugar cane operation are continuing a struggle over job losses and pay while doctors in Zimbabwe are fighting over pay and overall conditions in the health system.

UK: Inquest adjourned into death of Port Talbot steelworks contractor Justin Day

By Margot Miller, 7 October 2019

The events leading to the tragedy of Justin Day’s death are still unknown, but the circumstances of a machine switching on with an engineer working inside it points to a disastrous breakdown in health and safety protocol.

20,000 jobs and six plants threatened at German tire maker Continental

By Marianne Arens, 5 October 2019

The company’s executive announced what is alleged to be its biggest ever reorganisation—a frontal attack on workers.

Redundant Thomas Cook workers speak out at Manchester jobs fair

By our reporters, 5 October 2019

WSWS reporters spoke to the company’s former employees attending the fair.

UK Royal Mail workers wildcat strike over racist insult by management

By Laura Tiernan, 4 October 2019

The “unofficial” strike in defence of a Muslim co-worker is a powerful answer to the nationalist climate being stoked by the British ruling class over Brexit.

Greece hit by further 24-hour strike; Strikes and protests continue in South Africa

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

4 October 2019

On Wednesday Greek unions staged a one-day strike against right-wing changes in labour laws while strikes and protests are continuing in South Africa by bank workers, health workers, pilots, firefighters and other sections of workers.

Greek workers strike to oppose New Democracy government’s anti-union legislation

By John Vassilopoulos, 1 October 2019

In the first major strike called since New Democracy came to power in July, transport was brought to a standstill in Athens as bus, trolley and light railway drivers joined the strike, while passenger ferries also remained docked.

Germany: Bus drivers strike in Hesse and Saarland

By Marianne Arens, 1 October 2019

1,500 bus drivers in Frankfurt, Giessen, Darmstadt, Kassel, Offenbach, Hanau and Fulda took part in a 24-hour warning strike Friday for significant wage increases and better holiday arrangements.

The mounting human cost of the Thomas Cook collapse

By Richard Tyler, 28 September 2019

The international scale of the crisis, with devastating economic and social implications, has rapidly become clear.

UK pilots’ union BALPA shuts down strikes at two airlines

By our reporter, 27 September 2019

From the beginning, BALPA worked to strangle the struggle of the pilots and prevent a unified offensive by pilots across the industry with other airline staff.

Greek civil servants strike; UK postal workers strike ballot; South African bank workers to walk out

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

27 September 2019

Some 500,000 Greek civil servants struck Tuesday against labour law changes, while Royal Mail workers authorized strike action and 27,000 South African Bank workers are set to strike Friday.

Podemos backs Madrid’s plans for repression against Catalonia

By Alejandro Lopez, 24 September 2019

Last Friday, Podemos General Secretary Pablo Iglesias announced his party would back repressive measures against Catalonia if it were part of a Socialist Party-led government

British postal workers to hold strike ballot to defend jobs and conditions

By Steve James, 20 September 2019

Some 110,000 postal workers in Britain are balloting on industrial action, with the vote likely to return a large majority to strike.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

UK pilots’ union calls off British Airways strike, UK Ryanair strike goes ahead; Jordan’s teachers’ strike enters second week; union heads off South African auto strike

20 September 2019

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

Germany: IG Metall union concludes pact with corporate bosses and government against workers

By Ulrich Rippert, 16 September 2019

The union is offering to cooperate in “structural changes” that will boost the profits of the auto companies.

“Protecting the European way of life” and “a stronger Europe in the world”

New EU Commission to intensify militarism and attacks on refugees

By Will Morrow, 16 September 2019

The European bourgeoisie is shifting so far to the right that it is dispensing even with hypocritical “humanitarian” titles that it previously bestowed on its right-wing policies.

Election in Austria: Freedom Party demonstrates its close links to the Identitarian movement

By Markus Salzmann, 16 September 2019

The speech delivered by an experienced FPÖ official to a group of several dozen neo-Nazis, shortly before the election, sends a clear signal.

French transit workers strike against attack on pensions

By Will Morrow, 14 September 2019

The trade unions are seeking to prevent any struggle against Macron’s attack through a series of isolated one-day actions over the next month.

Defending pensions against Macron requires an international political strategy

By Alex Lantier, 14 September 2019

The way forward to defend pensions and oppose the well-advanced drive towards fascistic police state rule is to turn to the international working class.

IG Metall plays treacherous role in the Riva steelworkers strike

By Marianne Arens, 14 September 2019

The allies of striking Riva workers are not union officials but workers across Germany and internationally that are facing similar attacks.

Slovenian pilots strike; Paris, France rail and metro strike

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

13 September 2019

Slovenian pilots carried out a three-day stoppage September 8 - 10 over contract issues while Paris Metro workers are set to strike Friday to protest adverse pension changes by the Macron government.

Two-day strike by 4,000 British Airways pilots concludes

By Will Morrow, 12 September 2019

The strike demonstrated the immense objective power of the working class. It cancelled 1,700 flights over two days, affecting 300,000 passengers.

Corbyn addresses Trades Union Congress in a display of cynicism and hypocrisy

By Richard Tyler, 12 September 2019

Corbyn might believe that the support of the trade unions can be spun as a pro-worker endorsement, but millions know better.

The struggle of autoworkers against GM, Ford, and Chrysler requires a global strategy

By Jerry White, 11 September 2019

Just days before 158,000 US autoworkers face a contract deadline, GM workers in Korea and Mexico have entered the battle, underscoring the need to unify autoworkers across national borders.

Strike by thousands of pilots shuts down British Airways

By Richard Tyler, 10 September 2019

British Airways’ main base at Heathrow, Terminal 5, was described as a “ghost town,” as 4,000 BA pilots began a two-day strike on Monday.

Northern Ireland: Harland and Wolff shipyard workers continue occupation

By Steve James, 6 September 2019

Workers at Belfast’s Harland and Wolff have been occupying its shipyard since late July.

UK and Spanish Ryanair pilots continue strikes; first-ever national strike by Dutch care workers; South African Bank workers to strike

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

6 September 2019

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

Strike wave paralyses transport system in Spain

By Alejandro López, 4 September 2019

There is deep, growing anger among workers over the massive growth of social inequality and worsening working conditions.

UK postal strike looms; British Airways pilots and Spanish Ryanair staff to strike; South African national truck strike call on social media

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

30 August 2019

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

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

23 August 2019

Portuguese truck drivers’ strike called off but dispute continues; further strikes by ground staff at Spain’s Barcelona airport; national strike at Nigeria’s universities

Ryanair faces industrial unrest across Europe

By our reporter, 22 August 2019

Ryanair organises its operations on a pan-European basis and faces a situation in which workers in four of its subsidiaries are in dispute.

Germany: Plans to break up ThyssenKrupp take shape

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 19 August 2019

The ThyssenKrupp Group is accelerating its offensive against its 160,000-strong workforce.

UK: Asda supermarket workers protest inferior contract

By Robert Stevens, 16 August 2019

Asda’s workers face a devastating situation because the GMB union agreed to the contract being brought in on a “voluntary” basis two years ago and have refused to mount any serious fight since then.

UK supermarket worker: “The ‘choice’ from Asda is no choice—you sign or you’re out of a job”

By our reporters, 16 August 2019

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to Asda supermarket workers, who protested in Leeds Wednesday against the imposition of an inferior contract.

Threat of Ryanair strikes across Europe; Kenyan public workers in 15 counties are set to walk out

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

16 August 2019

More workers at Ryanair have voted to strike as the job action by Portuguese delivery drivers continues and Kenyan public sector workers are set to walk out Tuesday.

Hospital workers strike spreads throughout France

By Anthony Torres, 15 August 2019

The urgent care nurses and assistants are opposing Macron’s assault on healthcare and the deterioration of conditions for staff and patients.

A socialist strategy is needed to defend jobs and conditions

UK: Bradford NHS workers vote to strike against privatisation

By Richard Tyler, 15 August 2019

Hospital workers in Bradford, England, facing the backdoor privatisation of their jobs, have voted to take indefinite strike action from August 26.

Portugal’s social-democratic government calls out army against truckers’ strike

By Alex Lantier, 14 August 2019

The financial aristocracy has made clear that it will not tolerate workers’ demands for a dramatic rise in wages and working conditions, proper rest times, and fundamental social change.

UK supermarket workers oppose new wage-cutting contract at Walmart subsidiary Asda

By Barry Mason, 14 August 2019

To fight the plans of global corporations such as Asda, workers must adopt a strategy opposed to the nationalist, pro-capitalist policies of the trade unions.

More strikes called off by UK airline unions

By Margot Miller, 10 August 2019

Airline staff in many different countries, who are determined to fight to defend their wages, jobs and conditions, face sabotage by trade unions working to isolate and suppress their struggles.

UK Ryanair pilots vote to strike; South Africa’s bank workers two-day national stoppage; Kenyan construction workers wildcat strike over pay and conditions

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

9 August 2019

Ryanair pilots in Britain have given an 80 percent strike mandate while south African bank workers plan to protest massive job losses and Kenyan workers struck the multi-billion-shilling Thwake Dam construction project.

German auto supplier Eisenmann files for bankruptcy

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 3 August 2019

The family-owned company in Baden-Württemberg employs 3,000 workers at 27 locations in 15 countries.

Unions step up sabotage of airline workers’ struggles in Europe

By Robert Stevens, 3 August 2019

The unions across Europe are working in concert to head off any united offensive by airline workers.

Public transport workers’ meeting Thursday to demand WikiLeaks founder’s freedom

London bus drivers show support for Julian Assange

By our reporters, 30 July 2019

Many London bus drivers, drawn from every corner of the world, including Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, have first-hand experience of the US war crimes and government corruption exposed by WikiLeaks since 2006.

UK: First Bus drivers to vote on revised pay-offer after Unite calls off strikes

By Simon Whelan, 29 July 2019

An “improved” offer reportedly involves a miserly 17 pence an hour increase and a one-off payment of just £320, which the union is selling as an extra week’s wages.

UK Heathrow airport strike continues as pilots vote to strike; South Africa dockers defy unions

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

27 July 2019

In South Africa, dockworkers are continuing a two-week go slow in defiance of the unions.

UK Heathrow airport strike continues as pilots vote to strike; South African national rail strike; unions denounce South African dockers’ unofficial go-slow

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

27 July 2019

Some 4,000 workers carried out a two-day strike at London’s Heathrow airport while strikes continue in South Africa where dockworkers are continuing a two-week go slow in defiance of unions and rail workers carried out a one-day nationwide walkout.

Bradford NHS workers to strike against “backdoor privatisation”

By Barry Mason, 24 July 2019

The Bradford hospital trust’s plans are aimed at enforcing government-imposed efficiency cuts of 4 percent each year, around £16 million in the current financial year.

German automaker Opel to cut a further 1,100 jobs

By Marianne Arens, 23 July 2019

Shortly before the plants closed for the summer holiday, news emerged that 1,100 jobs will be cut in Rüsselsheim, Eisenach and Kaiserslautern.

After three-month cover-up, investigation into police assault of “yellow vest” Geneviève Legay transferred to Lyon

By Francis Dubois, 19 July 2019

The police assault on the septuagenarian in Nice is part of the erection of a police state by the government of the financial aristocracy headed by Macron.

Deutsche Bank to eliminate one in five jobs

By Gustav Kemper and Peter Schwarz, 17 July 2019

Employees are now paying the price for the bank’s criminal activities over the last 30 years.

UK: SEP wins support for Julian Assange at Durham Miners’ Gala

By our reporters, 15 July 2019

The gala is an annual labour movement event. Held for the first time in 1871, it attracts an estimated 200,000 attendees in celebration of the town’s coal mining heritage.

UK hospital in week-long strike; National strike threats on South Africa’s railways and Nigeria’s public sector

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

12 July 2019

Staff at Bradford hospitals struck against plans to transfer them to the employ of a private company, while thousands of South African railroad workers and Nigerian public workers are on strike.

Syriza’s election defeat: A balance sheet of a political betrayal

By Alex Lantier, 9 July 2019

Hailed as a “radical” alternative to capitalism by the middle-class left, the Syriza-led government of Alexis Tsipras spent four years carrying out austerity measures on behalf of the EU.

Paul Hanebrink’s A Specter Haunting Europe: The Myth of Judeo-Bolshevism

Part 2: Stalinism, communism and anti-Semitism

By Clara Weiss, 9 July 2019

Hanebrink’s false equation of Stalinism with communism leads to a significant and misleading omission in his discussion of the reemergence of anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe after World War II and internationally today.

Furniture retailer Conforama announces 1,900 job cuts in France in 2020

By Anthony Torres, 5 July 2019

Workers at several stores targeted for closure spontaneously walked off the job in protest at the deal worked out behind their backs by management and the unions.

Zimbabwe unions threaten general strike as walkouts spread in Nigeria

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

5 July 2019

The main Zimbabwe union federation has threatened a nationwide strike over the devaluation of currency while Nigerian dockworkers are set to strike this week over nonpayment of back wages joining civil servants and polytechnic staff.

Germany’s Deutsche Bank slashes 20,000 jobs

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 4 July 2019

The plans confirm that workers in the service and banking sectors, like their counterparts in industry, are paying for the preparations for trade war and military conflict.

Irish unions sabotage health workers’ strikes

By Dermot Byrne, 3 July 2019

Irish health unions called off the walkouts and have sought to divert anger into appeals to the Labour Court.

German IG Metall trade union promotes trade war at rally in Berlin

By Hendrik Paul, 3 July 2019

Germany’s biggest trade union used the demonstration to bang the drum for trade warfare, to promote nationalism and prepare the way for mass job losses.

Paris police use pepper spray against seated climate change protesters

By Will Morrow, 2 July 2019

Riot police strolled around the group, pepper spraying their faces from 20 centimeters away and ripping protective goggles off them, as onlookers filmed with their phones.

Ford announces 12,000 layoffs, five plant closures across Europe

By Will Morrow, 28 June 2019

A global restructuring is underway, with all the automakers relying on the trade unions to seek to suppress the seething and growing opposition of autoworkers.

Royal Marines from anti-Russia exercise daubed swastikas on chest

By Thomas Scripps, 28 June 2019

The marines were part of the Future Commando Force (FCF) taking part in Exercise Baltic Protector, described in the UK media as designed “to strike fear” into Putin.

Two German fighter jets collide in midair during practice flight

By Marianne Arens, 28 June 2019

Following the collision of two fighter planes, which resulted in the death of one pilot, German media outlets expressed their outrage at the lack of patriotism in the response of the population.

Siemens cuts another 2,700 jobs in the energy sector

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 26 June 2019

Shareholders are demanding that attacks on jobs and working conditions be stepped up in the name of increasing profits.

After Bridgend strike vote in opposition to plant closure

Ford workers in Wales must adopt an international strategy

By Robert Stevens, 22 June 2019

In a vote last week, over 80 percent of Unite trade union members at the Bridgend plant voted to oppose closure.

EU powers build joint “Future Combat Air System”

European Union rearms for World War III

By Johannes Stern, 21 June 2019

At the Le Bourget air show the defence ministers of Germany, France and Spain signed major agreements to develop a joint European air combat system.

The war on journalism is a war on the humanities

By Monika Eisenhauer, 21 June 2019

The World Socialist Web Site received this statement opposing the persecution of Julian Assange from Monika Eisenhauer, an independent historian and medievalist living in Germany.

London: Julian Assange Defence Committee lobbies Jeremy Corbyn’s Constituency Labour Party

“This is not a time for fence-sitting”

By our reporters, 21 June 2019

The Julian Assange Defence Committee urged rank-and-file Labour Party members in leader Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency to oppose US extradition proceedings against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

Italian and French dockers refuse to load ship to protest Saudi Arabia war in the Yemen; UK Bridgend Ford workers strike vote against closure

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

21 June 2019

Protests against the Saudi war in Yemen continued by French and Italian dockworkers, while Ford workers in Britain voted 83 percent for strike action against threats to shutter the facility.

Grenfell fire anniversary used by pseudo-left to boost Labour and Corbyn

By Robert Stevens, 17 June 2019

All the saccharine words and carefully orchestrated scenes on the part of the government cannot conceal the contempt it has for the Grenfell survivors.

“Everyone is fighting for justice, not only for the people for Grenfell Tower, but all the people around the world”

Family members and supporters of Grenfell fire victims speak to the WSWS

By our reporters, 17 June 2019

Hamid expressed the frustration of all the bereaved Grenfell families that they have still not been given answers as to why their loved ones perished and who is responsible.

Spain’s Supreme Court endorses 1936 fascist coup

By Alejandro López, 17 June 2019

If Franco is rehabilitated, it is because powerful factions of the ruling class are considering another break with legality and democratic forms of rule, in order to defend their wealth.

Left Party to enter state government in West Germany for the first time

By Peter Schwarz, 17 June 2019

Following the recent defeat of the SPD and Greens in Bremen, the Left Party is securing both parties a majority and joining the state government to continue their despised policies.

German police threaten climate change protesters

By Harold Hambacher, 17 June 2019

Police are treating youth concerned about climate change like criminals.

Austrian billionaire takes over leading German chain store

By Marianne Arens, 15 June 2019

The takeover by René Benko of the major German department store chain Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof will result in more branch closures and cuts to jobs and wages.