Western Europe

Workers in Germany report on corona virus infection risk in workplaces

By Ulrich Rippert, 30 May 2020

Workers highlight the lack of safety measures in public transit and factories.

No to the reopening of schools! Build action committees to safeguard children and teachers!

Statement by the Socialist Equality Party (UK), 30 May 2020

The “phased” return of school children is a criminal policy that places children, teachers, families, and communities open to the risk of serious illness and death.

The Accident unambiguously indicts the corporate elite

By Joanne Laurier, 30 May 2020

The British television miniseries, The Accident, tells the story of a decayed former mining and steel town in Wales, in which a factory under construction collapses, resulting in a horrendous tragedy.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mounting opposition among German health care, industrial workers

By Ulrich Rippert, 4 April 2020

The German government has implemented a bailout program for major companies and banks, but health care and industrial workers are forced to work under catastrophic conditions.

Coronavirus crisis: Hunger and malnutrition spread in Germany

By Carola Kleinert and Andy Niklaus, 4 April 2020

Research indicates some 13 million people in Germany are living in poverty or confront hunger, malnutrition and social misery due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

UK corporations scramble for coronavirus bailout funds

By Paul Bond, 4 April 2020

The £350 billion bailout is an unprecedented financial handout to UK corporations, conducted without even the rubber stamp of a parliamentary vote.

Working-class Londoners risk their lives fighting COVID-19 as the city’s billionaires decamp

By Michael Barnes, 4 April 2020

While the super-rich complain of being bored in their gated mansions, masses of workers in London have lost their jobs or are forced to work in unsafe conditions.

UK: Elderly will be left to die as coronavirus plunges care sector into crisis

By Stephen Alexander, 4 April 2020

It is estimated that up to a fifth of all COVID-19 deaths in the UK have occurred in care homes, hospices, and individual households.

Ireland woefully unprepared for COVID-19 onslaught

By Dermot Byrne, 4 April 2020

The European Centre for Disease Control warns that the intensive care system in Irish hospitals will not be able to cope with rising numbers of coronavirus patients in critical condition.

Nearly three years after the Grenfell Tower inferno, flammable cladding still widely used in UK

By Alice Summers, 4 April 2020

High Pressure Laminate cladding, thought to be used on thousands of buildings across the country, has been shown to be as highly flammable as the cladding used on Grenfell Tower.

Pandemic death toll in Europe rises to 19,000 as savaged health care systems are overwhelmed

By Thomas Scripps and Alice Summers, 28 March 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is preying on Europe’s 500 million-plus population whose health care services have been decimated by years of government austerity and private sector looting.

Coronavirus in Europe: Overworked hospitals become death traps

By Gregor Link, 28 March 2020

The criminal inactivity of European governments has led to a murderous and vicious circle of overwork, infection and work absences in hospitals throughout the continent.

UK government buried 2016 report exposing catastrophic NHS failings during flu pandemic

By Steve James, 28 March 2020

Exercise Cygnus has been buried for years for fear it would give rise to demands for an end to health care cuts.

UK health care assistant: “There’s a fear that if we are tested for COVID-19, most of us will come back positive and the NHS will collapse”

By our reporter, 28 March 2020

A senior health care assistant spoke to the World Socialist Web Site about his experiences at work during the coronavirus pandemic.

European Union summit on coronavirus ends in acrimony

By Peter Schwarz, 28 March 2020

The 27 European Union heads of government met via video conference on Thursday evening to discuss the coronavirus crisis.

Over 620 deaths in Italy on Friday as coronavirus fatalities surge in Europe

By Robert Stevens, 21 March 2020

Italy, Spain, Belgium and the UK all recorded their largest single-day death tolls in the global coronavirus pandemic on Friday.

UK government closes schools under sustained public pressure

By Tom Pearce, 21 March 2020

Although most pupils are being sent home, some schools, with reduced staffing, will have to remain open to ensure “key workers” are able to continue working.

UK Royal Mail workers oppose union citing coronavirus to justify strike vote sellout

By Thomas Scripps, 21 March 2020

Workers have used social media to condemn the union’s refusal to call strikes after a second national ballot recorded a huge mandate for action.

Growing demands for Assange’s release as first coronavirus case confirmed in British prisons

By Oscar Grenfell, 21 March 2020

The British authorities are willfully placing Assange’s life at risk, even though he has been convicted of no crime.

London postal workers take strike action over coronavirus concerns

By our reporter, 14 March 2020

Workers have accused Royal Mail management of inaction over concerns that they are being exposed unnecessarily to the virus.

Grenfell fire inquiry reveals more criminality by firms involved in refurbishment

By Charles Hixson, 14 March 2020

If those personally involved in events that led to the fire cannot ultimately be prosecuted, then neither can the corporations they represented.

The response of the ruling elite to the coronavirus pandemic: Malign neglect

By Alex Lantier and Andre Damon, 14 March 2020

Governments around the world are making a deliberate decision to minimize their response to the pandemic, threatening the lives of millions of people.

On coronavirus, Merkel tells Europe: “Drop dead”

By Johannes Stern and Alex Lantier, 12 March 2020

Merkel stated that a central priority of her government is to ensure the health care system does not become “overloaded” by the task of caring for coronavirus patients.

Spain’s PSOE-Podemos government sends police to Greece to attack migrants

By Alejandro López, 9 March 2020

The pseudo-left is complicit in the dispatching of police to Greece, where far right thugs are attacking refugees with the complicity of the government.

Councils to increase tax across UK as services are slashed

By Dennis Moore, 9 March 2020

At present more than 160 councils receive no revenue support grant from Whitehall and the government is shifting responsibility for the funding of local services from government to local council taxpayers.

Britain and European Union on collision course in Brexit talks

By Peter Schwarz, 29 February 2020

The EU and the British government presented sharply divergent documents outlining their goals for upcoming talks on their future relationship.

Swathes of UK underwater as record storms expose government indifference

By Robert Stevens and Barry Mason, 29 February 2020

The government repeats that it is spending £4 billion on flood defences over the next four years—a pittance—but has yet to announce where and when the money will be allocated.

German department store chain Real to be broken up, threatening 34,000 jobs

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 29 February 2020

The new owners have announced that they will not retain a single store for longer than two years if necessary.

Roman Polanski gets César for best director for J’Accuse, in repudiation of #MeToo

By Alex Lantier, 29 February 2020

The French Film Academy openly defied demands from the #MeToo movement and President Emmanuel Macron’s government not to give Polanski an award.

Tens of thousands protest all over Germany against right-wing terror

By our reporters, 22 February 2020

People in over 50 cities have taken part in spontaneous vigils and demonstrations in memory of the victims of the fascist attack in Hanau.

SGP deputy chairman speaks on the Hanau terrorist attack

Video: “To stop right terror, you need to know where it comes from”

By Christoph Vandreier, 22 February 2020

Socialist Equality Party Deputy Chairman Christoph Vandreier spoke at a vigil at the Brandenburg Gate after a right-wing terrorist killed eight people in Hanau, Germany.

Sabisky eugenics scandal exposes fascist core of UK Tories

By Thomas Scripps, 22 February 2020

Sabisky’s resignation is meaningless and all the questions now being raised in the media about “vetting processes” are irrelevant.

UK: Grenfell fire inquiry finalises moves to grant corporations immunity from prosecution

By Charles Hixson, 22 February 2020

Giannino Gottardi, who lost his son in the blaze, stated, “These companies put profit ahead of everything. They want to save the name of the company and don’t care about anything else.”

European legal team will seek asylum for Julian Assange in France

By Alex Lantier, 22 February 2020

Members of imprisoned WikiLeaks journalist Julian Assange’s legal team, together with Assange’s father John Shipton, held a press conference on Thursday in Paris.

New conflict of interest evidence against UK judge in charge of Assange extradition process

By Kevin Reed, 22 February 2020

Fresh evidence has emerged that the chief magistrate overseeing the extradition trial of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has received financial benefits from organizations connected to the UK Foreign Office.

Sajid Javid removed as UK chancellor as Johnson readies offensive against working class

By Robert Stevens, 15 February 2020

Javid’s ignominious exit confirms the essential agenda of the Johnson government is one of escalating the class-war offensive against workers.

#MeToo collaborates with fascistic forces to block showing of Polanski’s film J’Accuse

By Alex Lantier, 15 February 2020

Allied with the reactionary Macron government, #MeToo demands the censorship of Polanski’s brilliant account of the anti-Semitic frame-up of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, which was a seminal event in modern French history.

President of Berlin’s Humboldt University defends Professor Jörg Baberowski’s physical assault on left-wing student

By Christoph Vandreier, 15 February 2020

With her declaration of sympathy and refusal to clearly condemn the attack, Kunst has provided violent right-wing extremists with a blank cheque to intimidate and attack their political opponents at the university.

John Pilger’s The Dirty War on the National Health Service screening on Australia’s SBS this Sunday

By our reporters, 15 February 2020

The WSWS urges all our readers to watch this powerful documentary on SBS television, at 8.30 p.m. Sunday night, February 16.

UK: Johnson uses Trump’s playbook in attack on media

By Robert Stevens, 8 February 2020

The events on Monday were more reminiscent of a tin pot dictatorship than that of an elected government.

Thuringia, Germany: Minister president elected with votes of far-right AfD announces resignation

By Peter Schwarz, 8 February 2020

Twenty-four hours after being elected with the support of the far-right AfD, CDU and FDP as minister president of the state of Thuringia, Free Democrat politician Thomas Kemmerich announced his resignation.

German ruling class commemorates liberation of Auschwitz by planning new wars and new crimes

By Johannes Stern, 8 February 2020

Just one week after official ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, federal parliament President Wolfgang Schäuble has called for Germany to once again take up the “burden” of fighting wars abroad.

Far-right AfD plays role of kingmaker in German state election

By Christoph Vandreier, 7 February 2020

For the first time since the end of the Third Reich, a state premier was elected on Wednesday with the votes of a far-right, fascist party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Firms responsible for covering Grenfell in flammable cladding demand immunity from prosecution

By Charles Hixson and Robert Stevens, 1 February 2020

Evidence revealed as the second phase of the inquiry began demonstrates that the 72 people who were killed in the Grenfell fire inferno were victims of the heinous crime of social murder.

Jaguar Land Rover announces 500 job cuts at Halewood in northwest England

By Margot Miller, 1 February 2020

The response of Unite to JLR’s announcement was to pledge to ensure redundancies are implemented smoothly.

SEP presidential candidate Joseph Kishore addresses IYSSE election campaign meeting at Berlin’s Humboldt University

By our reporters, 1 February 2020

The meeting reviewed the growth of working class struggles throughout the world and the need for an international program and perspective.

“We hope this protest will inspire others”

French “yellow vests” protest for Assange outside Belmarsh prison in London

By Alex Lantier, 25 January 2020

The protests point to the deeply-rooted opposition among workers internationally to US and European governments’ relentless campaign to destroy Assange.

Strikers march across France as Macron moves to impose pension cuts

By Alex Lantier, 25 January 2020

A poll this week found 61 percent opposition to the cuts, and that 82 percent of Frenchmen believe they are worse off since Macron took office in 2017.

Volkswagen boss Diess commits management to mass layoffs

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 25 January 2020

2020 began with a fiery speech by the CEO of the world’s largest auto company, Volkswagen, in which he announced a “radical restructuring of the group” and the “slaughter of sacred cows.”

Two and a half years after Grenfell fire:

Tens of thousands of UK households live in buildings covered in flammable cladding

By Charles Hixson, 25 January 2020

Next to nothing has been done by the Conservative government to remove dangerous cladding from hundreds of mainly residential buildings that are enveloped in deadly flammable material.

Rich in US and UK live nearly ten more healthy years than the poor

By Kate Randall, 18 January 2020

Wealthy men and women generally have eight to nine more years of “disability free” life after age 50 than the poorest American and English adults.

US and UK clash over Huawei involvement in 5G rollout

By Robert Stevens, 18 January 2020

The rollout of 5G broadband wireless networks globally is becoming an arena for the eruption of geopolitical tensions.

German government to continue military operations in the Middle East

By Johannes Stern, 18 January 2020

All of the parliamentary parties agree with the government’s policy of escalating Germany military intervention in the region.

The Libya conference and the new scramble for Africa

By Johannes Stern, 18 January 2020

The Berlin meeting is reminiscent of the infamous Congo Conference, also held in Berlin in 1884-85 and aimed at the complete colonization of Africa.

UK: Corbyn offers no fight against war with Iran

By Thomas Scripps, 11 January 2020

Corbyn articulates the concerns within ruling circles, including Johnson’s Tories and the armed forces, that Trump’s recklessness can endanger the UK’s world position.

UK police fire stun guns 2,500 times as deployment of weapon escalates

By Dennis Moore, 11 January 2020

The use of stun guns has sparked controversy since their introduction, following the growing numbers of deaths they have caused when deployed.

Germany: Response to satirical children’s video exposes self-censorship of the media

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 11 January 2020

The week before Christmas, German broadcaster WDR posted an online video of a children’s choir singing an updated version of a satirical song, triggering hysterical denunciations.

World famous pianist Igor Levit victim of anti-Semitic death threats

By Marianne Arens, 11 January 2020

The fact that a Jewish pianist cannot perform publicly without protection indicates the extent of the current turn to the right in German politics.

German authorities shut down investigations into far-right and state crimes

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 6 January 2020

The closing of the year 2019 has confirmed that the revival of the far right in Germany is principally due to policies pursued by the country’s ruling elite.

In New Year’s address, French President Macron pledges to impose austerity despite mass strike

By Alex Lantier, 4 January 2020

In his perfunctory eighteen-minute speech Tuesday night, Macron made clear he intends to impose his pension cuts in the face of mass protests and strikes by the working class.

UK refusal to accept Scotland’s supply of haemophilia drugs resulted in thousands of deaths

By Robert Stevens, 4 January 2020

Blood supplied from contaminated sources led to thousands of people being infected with diseases such as hepatitis and HIV, and the deaths of nearly 3,000 people in the UK.

EU court rules jailed Catalan nationalist Junqueras had immunity

By Alejandro López, 23 December 2019

Madrid nevertheless kept Junqueras in jail over his role in the 2017 Catalan independence referendum and did not allow him to take his European parliament seat.

French unions work to end strike as government maintains pension cuts

By Anthony Torres, 21 December 2019

The unions are now calling for an end to strike action or using negotiations scheduled for January as a pretext to weaken workers’ resolve and betray the strike.

UK to leave European Union at end of January after Johnson passes Withdrawal Agreement

By Robert Stevens, 21 December 2019

A total of 38 Labour MPs defied Jeremy Corbyn’s instruction to oppose the bill.

UK Labour Party leadership contest begins after general election meltdown

By Robert Stevens, 21 December 2019

The bogus character of all claims that this is a leadership contest between “left” and “right” is epitomised by the fact that the two most prominent Blairite challengers are Corbyn’s Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer and his Shadow Foreign Minister Emily Thornberry.

UK general election result confirms protracted death of the Labour Party

By Chris Marsden, 19 December 2019

Labour haemorrhaged support across the UK and among all sections of workers, young and old, from the north and south, those in favour of leaving the European Union and those for remaining.