European Workers Issues

“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.

Ford to close Bridgend engine plant in Wales, eliminating 1,700 jobs

By Robert Stevens, 8 June 2019

Workers at the plant were given no notice. They were sent home Thursday after receiving a letter saying they will lose their jobs in phases by September 25, 2020.

French Nutella workers strike, Tram and metro workers’ stoppage in Greek capital

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

7 June 2019

Workers at the Nutella factory in Normandy have been blockading the plant over demands for a wage increase while Greek tram workers stopped work Monday to protest the Syriza government’s attacks on public transportation.

The global assault on jobs

By Jerry White, 5 June 2019

Job cuts by the Australian telecommunications company Telstra are part of a wave of international layoffs that urgently point to the need for a globally coordinated response by the working class.

Banks and multinationals announce mass layoffs in Spain

By Alejandro López, 22 May 2019

The ability of companies to impose redundancies is dependent on the collaboration of Spanish unions.

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

By Robert Stevens, 17 May 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.

Germany: Siemens hives off energy and power plant division

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 15 May 2019

Shareholders expect jobs and working conditions to be attacked and dismantled even faster than they have been in order to boost profit rates.

Corporate murder: Trial opens of France Télécom executives over worker suicides

By Will Morrow, 10 May 2019

To shrink a workforce legally protected from sacking, executives adopted a covert policy of psychological torture designed to coerce workers to quit or commit suicide.

South African municipal strikers defy unions; strike continues by South African workers at Cell C phones

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

10 May 2019

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

Thousands of jobs threatened at Bombardier plants in Belfast and Casablanca

By Steve James, 7 May 2019

Bombardier’s move is the next phase of a global restructuring necessitated by ferocious competition in the world airline industry.

Fuel tanker drivers threaten new strike in Portugal

By Paul Mitchell, 4 May 2019

The fuel tankers dispute is the latest manifestation in Portugal of the eruption of the class struggle internationally.

UK rail union calls off strikes against driver-only-operated trains

By Michael Barnes, 3 May 2019

The Conservative government is behind the plot to impose a huge cost-cutting and de-staffing operation on the railways

In naked sellout, union announces end to strike by 300,000 Polish teachers

By Will Morrow and Clara Weiss, 27 April 2019

The union is covering up the fact that it is ending the strike without meeting any of the teachers’ demands by claiming the strike is being “suspended.”

International finance backs Socialist Party in Spain’s April 28 elections

By Alejandro López, 26 April 2019

European Union sources are warning of prolonged political instability and looking to the PSOE and Podemos for an answer.

Miners’ union sells out five-month long strike at Sibanye Stillwater in South Africa

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

26 April 2019

The South African Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union agreed to a deal ending the five-month strike by gold miners on the same terms as the “slave labour” agreement signed with three other unions.

As union seeks to end walkout

Polish teachers speak out on why they are striking

By Will Morrow, 25 April 2019

The main teachers’ union has called for the suspension of the powerful strike to allow students to complete their exams.

Unions scramble to contain Polish teachers’ strike as 40,000 social workers prepare to stop work

By Clara Weiss, 24 April 2019

The teachers’ strike, the first nationwide walkout since 1993, is one of the largest strikes since the restoration of capitalism in Poland in 1989.

Scotland: Union suppresses teachers strike as lecturers fight on

By Darren Paxton, 24 April 2019

The teachers dispute has been closed down, but lecturers and education staff fight on.

George Galloway declares for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party

By Chris Marsden, 24 April 2019

Having spent over three years hailing Corbyn as the left rebirth of Labour, Galloway now parrots the claim that Farage’s politics articulate the views of the working class on what he insists is the main issue of the day—Brexit.

New police crackdown in France as Macron to announce further austerity cuts

By Will Morrow, 23 April 2019

At last Saturday’s “yellow vest” protest, police were once again given free rein to violently assault and arrest protesters.

Bayer cuts 4,500 jobs in Germany

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 23 April 2019

Chemical giant Bayer AG is cutting 4,500 jobs in Germany, almost one in seven of its 32,000 positions in the country.

Polish government vows to fight wage rises as teachers’ strike enters second week

By Clara Weiss, 17 April 2019

Both the Polish government and the ZNP union are trying to isolate the national teachers’ strike and keep it from sparking a broader movement of the working class.

Largest UK department store chain, Debenhams, goes into administration

By Barry Mason, 16 April 2019

Last year saw the loss of nearly 150,000 retail jobs with the closure of 20,000 shops and restaurants.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

12 April 2019

Gold miners in South Africa voted to continue strike action against Sibanye Stillwater, while Greek teachers planned a 24-hour walkout and Israeli firefighters say they will strike over working conditions.

The resurgence of the class struggle in Poland

By Johannes Stern and Alex Lantier, 11 April 2019

Thirty years after General Wojciech Jaruzelski’s Stalinist regime began to collapse, paving the way for capitalist restoration, Polish teachers are mounting a national strike.

Germany: Tens of thousands demonstrate in Berlin against high rents

By our reporters, 10 April 2019

The demand for the expropriation of real estate companies was at the centre of the demonstration and met with tremendous support among workers and young people.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

5 April 2019

Gold miners have voted to continue their four-month strike after management rejected a deal proposed by mediators.

Ford confirms its target of 5,000 layoffs in Germany

By Marianne Arens, 1 April 2019

The axing of 5,000 jobs is part of a global cost-cutting program by Ford intended to save up to $14 billion.

At UK demonstration over factory closing, unions plea to Tory government and Honda

By Paul Mitchell, 1 April 2019

To defeat this immense assault, car workers in Swindon and every factory must break from the trade unions and create new, independent, fighting organisations to take up the struggle that the unions abandoned long ago.

Swindon Honda workers speak out

“The working class needs to be organised against global capitalism”

By our reporters, 1 April 2019

WSWS reporters spoke to some of those attending last Saturday’s demonstration in Swindon, England, against the threatened closure of Honda’s car plant.

Build rank-and-file factory committees to fight Honda job losses!

By Steve James, 30 March 2019

Today’s demonstration shows workers are ready to fight and there is widespread support for such a struggle in the car industry in the rest of the UK and internationally.

Textile workers strike in Ethiopia’s new economic zone; Sibanye miners union ends strike paving way for slave labour deal

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

29 March 2019

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

Goodyear-Dunlop plans 1,100 job cuts in Germany

By Marianne Arens, 27 March 2019

The latest measure will cut over one-third of the workforce at two factories in the state of Hesse.

Ford announces 5,000 job cuts in Germany

By Marianne Arens, 23 March 2019

The mass lay-offs are a component of Ford’s global onslaught on jobs known as the Fitness Programme, which aims to eliminate 25,000 jobs around the world.

Macron sends the French army against anti-austerity protests

By Alex Lantier, 22 March 2019

The move is a major step toward the implementation of police-state forms of rule in France, as part of a global onslaught against democratic rights.

European Union leaders grant May extra time to pass Brexit deal in UK parliament

By Robert Stevens, 22 March 2019

The EU has agreed a plan allowing a delay of Brexit to May 22 on condition that UK MPs approve the deal the EU agreed with Prime Minister Theresa May by the previous official exit date of March 29.

Fiction and reality: The Italian Five-Star Movement’s citizen income scheme

By Marianne Arens, 22 March 2019

The “reddito di cittadinanza” (citizen income) is a vanity project of the co-governing Five-Star Movement that will not change Italy’s stark social inequality.

Hungary hit by strikes in public sector and auto industry

By Markus Salzmann, 19 March 2019

Nearly 10,000 public sector employees went on strike in Hungary last Thursday, protesting poverty wages and government policy.

Germany: 3,000 Bosch workers protest in Stuttgart against job cuts

By K. Nesan, 19 March 2019

The Bosch company is using the introduction of electric-powered autos to press ahead with the biggest job cuts in its history.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

15 March 2019

Thousands of teachers strike in Morocco, car workers walkout in Hungary.

Volkswagen announces thousands of layoffs

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 14 March 2019

The slashing of up to 7,000 jobs by the world’s second largest automaker is part of an escalating assault on jobs throughout global auto industry.

British retail sector continues shedding thousands of jobs

By Simon Whelan, 2 March 2019

Some 19,000 high street jobs have been lost or put at risk in the two months since Christmas.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

South African gold miners’ strike at Sibanye in third month, Kenyan striking nurses defy back to work order

22 February 2019

As the strike by workers at Sibanye gold mine continues, the company announced the closure of two mines costing 7,000 jobs. Meanwhile Kenyan nurses are defying a back to work order by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Irish nurses’ union seeks to impose settlement after calling off strike

By Dermot Byrne, 20 February 2019

The INMO nurses’ union is betraying the struggle for a decent pay rise and better working conditions.

Germany: Public transport strike paralyzes Berlin

By our reporters, 16 February 2019

For much of Friday, all subways and trams in the capital stood still and most buses remained in their depots.

Nationwide public sector strike hits Portugal

By Will Morrow, 16 February 2019

Leading union officials have issued warnings to the government that its actions could trigger “uncontrollable” struggles by workers that they cannot prevent.

UK rail strike at South Western Railway, Sibanye gold and platinum miners’ strike continues

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

15 February 2019

Rail workers at South Western Railway voted by a near 90 percent majority to continue strikes in opposition to the extension of the use of driver only operated trains.

Tens of thousands strike in Berlin against poor working conditions

By our reporters, 14 February 2019

Tens of thousands of public sector workers took part in a one-day strike in Berlin on Wednesday. More than 10,000 people marched to the Brandenburg Gate.

One-day national strike paralyzes Belgium

By Will Morrow, 14 February 2019

Large parts of Belgium were brought to a standstill yesterday, as tens of thousands of workers took part in a national 24-hour strike to demand wage increases.

National 24-hour strike goes forward in Belgium

By Will Morrow, 13 February 2019

As strikes and protests grow across Europe, anger is mounting among Belgian workers at low wages enforced by state-run talks between business and the unions.

UK rail workers demand reinstatement of conductor sacked for opposing Driver Only Operated trains

By our reporter, 11 February 2019

The SEP and the WSWS warn rail workers that the RMT bureaucracy cannot be trusted to defend the victimised worker, any more than they can to oppose the introduction of Driver Only Operated trains.

The CGT’s “national strike”: French unions seek to strangle the “yellow vest” protests

By our reporters, 9 February 2019

For the unions, the day of action was an opportunity for its base of officials and bureaucrats to meet with “yellow vest” protesters and seek to gain control of their movement.

UK rail worker sends solidarity to Detroit auto workers protest

9 February 2019

“I wish you good luck and never give up. You need to be organised and stand up to the oppressing regime in order to succeed.”

UK Arriva North rail sell-out deal, Scottish lecturers’ strike, Sibanye miners’ stoppage continues in South Africa

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

8 February 2019

Strikes by rail guards working for Arriva North in northern England, who are opposing the introduction of driver only operated trains, have been called off by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union.

French National Assembly passes police state “anti-riot” law targeting protests

By Will Morrow, 7 February 2019

Introduced in response to the “yellow vest” protests, the law marks a significant step in the transformation of France into a police state.

Berlin-based airline files for bankruptcy

By Ulrich Rippert, 7 February 2019

As in the case of the bankruptcy of Air Berlin, where Verdi and Lufthansa worked closely together, it is ultimately the workforce that will pay the costs of insolvency.

UK: Employment growth at the expense of pay and job security

By Alice Summers, 6 February 2019

While employment rates have being steadily rising since the 2008 global financial crash, this increase has gone hand in glove with growing levels of job insecurity and stagnant pay.

UK’s largest supermarket Tesco to shed 9,000 jobs

By Margot Miller, 5 February 2019

The response of the trade unions to the job losses was predictably muted. No fight will be waged by them to save a single job.

Union shuts down Audi strike in Hungary

By Markus Salzmann, 4 February 2019

The one-week strike by 12,000 workers at the Hungarian Audi plant in Györ had a massive impact on production in several factories in Europe and shook the auto industry.

Brexit, Free Ports and the super-exploitation of the working class

By Steve James, 4 February 2019

Both Tory and Labour politicians support new Free Port deregulation zones.

Portugal’s strike wave intensifies

By Paul Mitchell, 2 February 2019

As the strike movement develops, the unions have sought to dissipate united opposition into regional and sectoral strikes directed at pleading with various ministers, parliament and the president to change course.

Sibanye gold miners’ strike joined by platinum miners; Public worker strikes spread in Kosovo

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

1 February 2019

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

Berlin teachers and social workers strike for better working conditions

By our reporters, 31 January 2019

The unions have long worked with the parties that form the Berlin Senate to impose cuts.

40,000 Irish nurses to participate in series of one day strikes

By Dermot Byrne and David Byrne, 30 January 2019

Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) are to hold the first in a series of 24-hour strikes today over pay and conditions.

Russian Duma plans internet crackdown as 12,000 truckers strike

By Clara Weiss, 30 January 2019

The legislation is part of a global assault on free speech on the internet and a censorship campaign against independent news outlets.

Barcelona taxi strike called off after six days, Madrid strike continues

By Carlos Hernández, 29 January 2019

Barcelona taxi drivers voted to end their strike and accept the regional Catalan government’s decree establishing stricter regulations for vehicle-for-hire licenses.

Autoworkers strike in Hungary

By Markus Salzmann, 28 January 2019

Thousands of auto workers began a one-week strike on Thursday at an Audi plant in Györ, western Hungary.

An appeal from a UK rail worker for a joint fight of rail, bus and tram workers across Europe

By our correspondent, 28 January 2019

The WSWS has been sent this appeal from a UK rail worker to colleagues employed by state run Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways). It calls for a joint fight against its privatised arm, Abellio, which is currently attacking jobs and working conditions across its private UK rail franchises.

Oppose French unions’ attempts to strangle the “yellow vest” protests!

By Anthony Torres and Alex Lantier, 26 January 2019

The Pabloite New Anticapitalist Party’s calls for the unions to take over the “yellow vest” protests amounts to an attempt to strangle growing opposition among workers.

German Ford workers: “The yellow vests are going about it the right way”

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 25 January 2019

Members of the Socialist Equality Party discussed with Ford workers in Cologne about the formation of action committees independent of the unions to initiate a campaign to defend jobs.

Scottish teachers balloted for strike action in pay dispute

By Darren Paxton, 23 January 2019

Teachers in Scotland are demanding a 10 percent pay increase, having rejected on several occasions the Scottish government’s offer of a paltry 3 percent.

040 German Ford workers interviews

23 January 2019

UK: Corbyn endorses second referendum after May stonewalls on her Brexit plan

By Chris Marsden, 22 January 2019

With just 67 days before Brexit is scheduled to take place on March 29, Corbyn has once again folded his hand and united with his right-wing.

Ford workers at Bridgend in Wales facing 1,000 job losses

By Barry Mason, 21 January 2019

The trade unions act as management partners and are doing nothing to oppose the job losses.

Scottish lecturers expand strike for pay claim

By our correspondents, 18 January 2019

Lecturers are demanding a 2.5 percent increase, which merely covers for inflation, against an offer from the employers group Colleges Scotland of 0.9 percent.

France’s Lutte ouvrière group defends unions against “yellow vest” protests

By Anthony Torres, 18 January 2019

The “yellow vest” movement has unmasked the class gulf separating the workers from the union bureaucracies and organizations such as the pseudo-left Lutte ouvrière .

UK parliament to vote on Brexit deal today

By Chris Marsden, 15 January 2019

The fight over Brexit revolves around the best means of advancing the interests of British imperialism for control of global markets.

Top UK executives earn average worker pay within three days

By Alice Summers, 15 January 2019

While the vast majority of British workers have suffered a decline in wages unsurpassed for over a century, top bosses have seen their pay grow rapidly year on year.

Fight the Ford layoffs! Build rank-and-file committees to unite autoworkers across Europe!

By Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei, Socialist Equality Party and Parti de l’égalité socialiste, 15 January 2019

The working class cannot accept the “right” of the corporations to shut plants down, decimate entire communities and destroy the lives of tens of thousands of workers.

New year sees continuing strike wave in Portugal

By Paul Mitchell, 14 January 2019

So far this year, strike action has taken place or is pending in the judicial system, dockyards, oil refineries and food industry and among teachers and nurses.

UK People’s Assembly protest shows Corbyn’s role in demobilising the working class

By Steve James, 14 January 2019

The deeper the crisis, the more openly the Labour Party and the trade unions reveal their function as a political and industrial police force for big business over the working class.

Jaguar Land Rover announces nearly 5,000 UK job losses in global restructuring

By Robert Stevens, 12 January 2019

Last October, JLR posted losses of £90 million and has seen a collapse in sales by nearly 50 percent in its main and most profitable market, China.

Security personnel at German airports continue protest strikes

By K. Nesan and Marianne Arens, 12 January 2019

The work stoppages make clear the enormous anger of security staff and their willingness to fight.

Ford to lay off thousands, close plants across Europe

By Will Morrow, 11 January 2019

The company’s statement bluntly spells out the role to be played by the unions—which it correctly labels its “trade union partners”—in suppressing opposition among workers.

Macron launches fraudulent “national debate” on “yellow vest” protests

By Alex Lantier, 11 January 2019

The debate is an attempt to strangle mounting opposition while continuing reactionary policies of austerity and militarism under cover of a few empty phrases.

Scotland: 300 laid off at Kaiam plant on Christmas Eve

By Steve James, 3 January 2019

Workers at optical electronics firm Kaiam in Livingston, Scotland, were laid off following the company’s collapse.

Hundreds die on UK streets as homelessness reaches record levels

By Margot Miller, 3 January 2019

Over the last five years, an estimated 2,627 homeless people have perished on the streets.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

Fight by rail guards at UK rail franchises continues

28 December 2018

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

Commercy “yellow vest” protesters hold second Popular Assembly

By our reporter, 24 December 2018

Over 100 workers, contractors, small businesspeople and unemployed gathered to discuss perspectives for a struggle against French President Emmanuel Macron.

RMT union cancels three strikes on London Underground

By Angela Austin, 24 December 2018

Underground rail workers have been involved in a series of disputes and strikes over worsening working conditions, staff shortages and victimisations.

Protests in Portugal and Catalonia met with police repression amid rising wave of strikes

By Paul Mitchell, 22 December 2018

To stem rising social anger, the government in Portugal secured an agreement from Facebook to close down the Yellow Vest protest organisers’ website and drafted in 20,000 security police.

UK: Half of Royal College of Nursing leadership re-elected after being forced out

By Ajanta Silva, 22 December 2018

The re-elected union functionaries played a crucial role in selling a rotten pay deal to their members earlier this year, after conspiring with other unions and the government.

South Africa Sibanye miners’ strike made illegal

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

21 December 2018

Some 15,000 workers at three mines operated by Sibanye’s three gold mines are continuing a strike that has now been declared illegal based on allegations of violence on the part of workers.

Fifth French “yellow vest” protest opposes Macron government

By Alex Lantier, 17 December 2018

The media and official parties are pressing the “yellow vests” to accept the legalizing of citizen-initiated referendums as a concession that would justify ending the protests.

French state prepares crackdown for fifth Saturday of “yellow vest” protests

By Will Morrow, 15 December 2018

The Paris police prefect announced that the response would be “about the same” as last Saturday, which saw mass arrests of over 1,700 people.

Germany: Ford announces massive job cuts at its Saarlouis plant

By Ulrich Rippert, 14 December 2018

At a factory meeting last Monday, local Ford management announced that production of the company’s C-Max model is to be discontinued with the loss of 1,600 jobs.