Europe

How corporations and government finance the German trade unions

By Ulrich Rippert and Marianne Arens, 6 July 2020

With the pandemic, which has led to the deepest international economic crisis since the 1930s, the role of unions as tools of the corporations is taking on a new dimension.

British government reimposes welfare benefits sanctions as pandemic continues and unemployment rockets

By Simon Whelan, 6 July 2020

By June, the number of job center claimants had risen by 126 percent since the start of the pandemic, to 2.8 million.

Naming new French prime minister, Macron coordinates austerity with unions

By Alex Lantier, 4 July 2020

Jean Castex is being brought in to coordinate with the unions the draconian austerity policies that Macron and the banks will impose amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spain participated in failed 2019 US coup in Venezuela

By Alejandro López, 4 July 2020

New information emerging about the coup exposes Spain’s ruling “left populist” party, Podemos, as a tool of imperialism’s bloody foreign policy in Latin America.

French unions collaborate with employers to impose mass layoffs as COVID-19 crisis deepens

By Will Morrow, 4 July 2020

As an international wave of layoffs and plant closures comes in France, the trade unions are working closely with the Macron government and employers to suppress workers’ opposition to this assault.

UK pubs reopen in “Super Saturday”: A criminal act

By Thomas Scripps, 4 July 2020

The inevitable deadly consequences of the Johnson government’s latest move will be fully revealed in the weeks and months to come.

Tories resurrect cynical “Clap for Carers” on 72nd anniversary of the NHS

By Rory Woods, 4 July 2020

Sunday’s event insults the memory of hundreds of health and social care workers who died of COVID-19 trying to save the lives of others.

German defence minister plans more effective organization of army’s far-right elite force

By Peter Schwarz, 4 July 2020

After new details came to light about the far-right terrorist networks inside the Special Forces Command, the German defence minister announced the restructuring of the army’s 1,600-strong elite unit.

Germany’s motto for the EU Council presidency: For militarism and war

By Johannes Stern, 4 July 2020

The German government’s motto for the EU Council presidency is “Gemeinsam. Europa wieder stark machen” (“Together. Making Europe strong again”)—Berlin’s counterpart to Trump’s “Make America Great Again.”

The vote on the constitutional amendments in Russia:

Kremlin pushes to massively strengthen power of the president

By Vladimir Volkov and Clara Weiss, 3 July 2020

On July 1, a seven-day long vote on constitutional changes first proposed by Russian president Vladimir Putin in January, was concluded.

Tens of thousands of jobs at risk as works council at German automaker Daimler announces layoffs

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 3 July 2020

The works council is repeating word for word the arguments of company management and industry analysts calling for stepped up attacks on workers.

British government ramps up campaign against China

By Jean Shaoul, 3 July 2020

The Tories’ aim is to open another front in US imperialism’s economic, diplomatic, and military-strategic offensive that threatens military war against the world’s second largest economy.

Floods inundate Western Ukraine amid renewed spike in COVID-19 cases

By Jason Melanovski, 3 July 2020

Heavy rains and illegal logging are to blame for floods that have killed three in the country, which is rocked by a new surge in coronavirus cases.

UK government’s guidance on school reopening: Back to “normal” from September

By Tania Kent, 3 July 2020

There will be no social distancing, no personal protection for children or staff and no school closures if children or staff record positively for COVID-19.

Workers in Germany express their solidarity with striking Fiat Chrysler workers

By our correspondents, 2 July 2020

The strikes at two Detroit Fiat Chrysler plants in Jefferson North and Sterling Heights against intolerable health and safety conditions for production workers have met with a powerful response from workers in Germany.

Unite offers support for 10 percent job losses at British Airways, EasyJet, Ryanair

By Laura Tiernan, 2 July 2020

The scale of the ongoing jobs massacre was underscored by EasyJet’s announcement Tuesday that 1,900 pilots, cabin crew and ground staff will be made redundant, with Airbus announcing 12,300 job cuts worldwide by Summer 2021, including 1,700 in the UK.

Germany: Verdi trade union sells out Galeria Kaufhof Karstadt workers

By Justus Leicht and Wolfgang Weber, 2 July 2020

Verdi brazenly claimed it would “ fight for every job and every store. ” In reality, the union and the general works council were involved in drawing up the closure plans.

Airbus cuts 15,000 jobs

Coronavirus crisis triggers mass layoffs, wage cuts across Europe

By Will Morrow, 1 July 2020

Having given massive state bailouts to the corporations, the ruling class is using the pandemic to effect a historic restructuring in class relations.

Lockdown in Leicester amid surge in infections throughout UK

By Robert Stevens, 1 July 2020

Outbreaks at food factories, garment plants and schools attest to the criminality of Johnson government as it ditches a national lockdown.

Ireland’s Greens agree to join austerity coalition government

By Dermot Quinn, 1 July 2020

Almost five months after Ireland’s February 8 general election, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have formed a coalition government after the Green Party voted to come on board.

Amazon workers in Germany strike against lack of coronavirus protection

By Marianne Arens, 30 June 2020

More than 2,000 Amazon workers are taking part in a 48-hour strike at six locations to protest the company’s refusal to provide adequate protection from the virus.

Merkel, Macron promote EU militarism amid growing conflicts with Washington

By Johannes Stern and Alex Lantier, 30 June 2020

The leaders of Germany and France called for stepped-up military spending and austerity to ensure Europe’s ability to wage war independently from Washington.

Germany: Police powers stepped up after “Stuttgart’s Night of Violence”

By Jan Ritter, 30 June 2020

The violence does not emanate from the population, but from the police against the population—especially against workers and young people.

Broader reopening of UK schools leads to spread of COVID-19 infections

By Tania Kent and Tim Pearce, 30 June 2020

Recent outbreaks in schools almost doubled to 44 in one week—16 more than were recorded at hospitals

“It’s eugenics by the back door”

UK disability campaigner Doug Paulley speaks on coronavirus pandemic

By Alice Summers, 30 June 2020

Doug has recently been involved in legal action opposing the use of “scoring” systems to deny ventilator treatment to the sick, disabled and elderly.

The poor in Germany have a higher risk of falling sick from COVID-19

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 30 June 2020

The poorest people in Germany, including the long-term unemployed and recipients of Hartz IV social welfare, have an 84 percent higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 and requiring hospitalization.

Dutch government exposed by disastrous handling of COVID-19 pandemic

By Harm Zonderland and Parwini Zora, 30 June 2020

When the pandemic hit the Netherlands, the Dutch government adopted a reckless wait-and-see posture, even when it was clear that COVID-19 was potentially fatal.

Royal Mail workers in the UK face jobs massacre

By Paul Lee, 30 June 2020

Two thousand management job cuts will be followed by at least 20,000 redundancies from the remaining workforce.

Citing COVID-19 spread, EU denies US citizens entry to Europe

By Alex Lantier, 29 June 2020

The American ruling elite’s catastrophic handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is undermining Washington’s position overseas, with far-reaching implications.

Warnings of a second coronavirus wave in Germany

By Marianne Arens, 29 June 2020

Following an outbreak of coronavirus infections in the Tönnies meat factory in East Westphalia, the virus is spreading rapidly to other companies and regions.

Germany: Lufthansa and the bankruptcy of the unions

By Peter Schwarz, 29 June 2020

Lufthansa will receive €9 billion in government aid, which will be used to restructure the airline, costing thousands of jobs and worsening pay and conditions.

Polish president fails to secure absolute majority in first round of elections

By Clara Weiss, 29 June 2020

The result is universally seen as a defeat for Duda and PiS.

Sudanese asylum seeker shot dead in Glasgow

By Steve James, 29 June 2020

The tragedy is the consequence of the brutal treatment handed out to asylum seekers in the city and throughout the UK.

UK government ends lockdown: Feigned official outrage over beaches, raves, and football celebrations

By Laura Tiernan, 29 June 2020

Neither Johnson’s glib and deceitful comments, nor the filthy headlines of the press can conceal their role as the real authors of these dangerous scenes.

Onslaught on jobs and conditions at British Telecom

By Barry Mason and Robert Stevens, 29 June 2020

Slashing offices from 300 to 30 comes on top of proposals to cut BT's 100,000-strong workforce by around 13,000.

WHO warns of “very significant” coronavirus resurgence in Europe

By Will Morrow, 27 June 2020

The resurgence is driven by governments’ reopening policy, whose aim is the full resumption of corporate profit-making, regardless of the threat to workers.

British government suppressed daily pandemic death toll by thousands

By Simon Whelan, 27 June 2020

The government suppressed the extent of COVID-19 fatalities because its policies created the conditions for tens of thousands of needless deaths.

British Airways workers denounce company “offer” to slash pay and conditions

By John Newham and Laura Tiernan, 27 June 2020

BA workers must break free of the corporatist grip of the unions and fight for rank-and-file committees to organise joint action with airline workers across the globe.

UK government refuses support to unemployed migrant workers facing destitution during pandemic

By Harvey Singh, 27 June 2020

Although exact figures are difficult to obtain, it is estimated that up to 250,000 children could directly be threatened with poverty due to the “no recourse to public funds” status of their parents.

UK Labour leader Keir Starmer uses bogus anti-Semitism accusation to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey

By Robert Stevens, 27 June 2020

The move demonstrates that no criticisms of the Israeli government will be allowed in the Labour Party and that Starmer will deal decisively with what remains of the Corbynites.

YDSA develops ties with SYRIZA youth, Greek party of austerity and police repression

By Sam Wayne, 27 June 2020

Members of the Young Democratic Socialists of America have published a joint statement with the youth section of SYRIZA, the “Coalition of the Radical Left.”

The Salisbury Poisonings: Skripal drama framed as anti-Russian propaganda

By Thomas Scripps, 27 June 2020

The BBC’s three-part The Salisbury Poisonings uses drama as state propaganda and is designed to reignite the Skripal affair that dominated UK politics in 2018.

Wirecard: The German economy sinks into criminality

By Peter Schwarz, 26 June 2020

The company CEO was arrested in connection with the disappearance of 1.9 billion euros ($2 billion).

Five cruise ships detained by UK revealing atrocious conditions of seafarers

By Paul Bond, 26 June 2020

Globally there have been numerous suicides reported among crew members stranded at sea.

Parliamentary report exposes widespread fire-safety failings three years on from Grenfell Tower inferno

By Alice Summers, 26 June 2020

Of the 2,000 high-rise buildings still coated in highly flammable materials, 300 are clad with the Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) panels used on Grenfell Tower.

Thousands of Iranian sugarcane workers strike for second week; clothing workers’ stoppage in Lethoso; Zimbabwe nurses and doctors protests and strike

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

26 June 2020

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

US indictment of Assange based on testimony of FBI assets, convicted child molester

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 June 2020

The indictment paints a picture of US operatives pouring through decade-old tabloid gossip and dredging up the most unsavoury creatures of their own intelligence agencies to fling mud at Assange.

Beset by crisis, Kremlin holds “victory parade”

By Clara Weiss, 25 June 2020

The parade and the reopening of the economy have been timed to precede by one week the national referendum on constitutional changes proposed by Putin earlier this year.

Johnson announces end of UK’s lockdown

By Robert Stevens, 25 June 2020

The bulk of the UK economy, barring “close proximity” venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools and spas, will reopen July 4. All schools will reopen in September.

London bus drivers’ lives threatened by union collusion on inadequate COVID-19 measures

By Laura Tiernan, 25 June 2020

The Unite union is playing a crucial role for the government and Transport for London in policing the back-to-work drive and concealing the immense dangers facing bus and transport workers.

Unite union facilitates cover-up of COVID-19 outbreak in UK meat processing plants

By Tony Robson, 25 June 2020

Meat processing factories across the world have become a breeding ground for the virus, and working in them is a potential death sentence.

Following “night of violence” in Stuttgart

German media and politicians stoke massive campaign for a police state

By Jan Ritter and Johannes Stern, 25 June 2020

The campaign is aimed at establishing an authoritarian state in which even journalistic and satirical criticisms of the police are prohibited.

New COVID-19 outbreaks in Germany and Berlin’s inhumane quarantine conditions

By Lisa Lachlan, 25 June 2020

Since June 13, 369 households, each containing one to 10 people, have been quarantined as a result of COVID-19 infections in one of Berlin’s poorest districts.

The coronavirus crisis, the government’s aid package and the attempt to strangle German art

By Verena Nees, 25 June 2020

On closer inspection, the German government’s aid package proves to be a sham and a step towards neutering and strangling a diverse cultural landscape.

More than 1,500 COVID-19 infections at pork processing plant in Germany

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 24 June 2020

The Tönnies Group, Germany’s largest meat processing firm, has a long record of putting profits before the health and safety of its workforce.

Boris Johnson reinforces imperialist agenda of Britain’s overseas aid

By Jean Shaoul, 24 June 2020

The Department for International Development, which disperses Britain’s £15.2 billion aid budget, is to be subsumed under the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Johnson used pandemic to step up privatisation of UK public sector

By Margot Miller, 24 June 2020

The corporate raid underscores the cynicism of government ministers clapping frontline workers and hailing NHS workers as “heroes.”

All schools in England to open in September

By Tom Pearce, 24 June 2020

The government’s decision to return to the full opening of schools has been taken without any systematic review of the impact of the wider reopening of the economy.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the global plight of refugees and migrant workers

By Jordan Shilton, 24 June 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to tear through the global population, the disease is having an especially devastating impact on the tens of millions of displaced people throughout the world.

Reading terror suspect fought in US-British proxy war to overthrow Libya’s Gaddafi

By Robert Stevens, 23 June 2020

Saadallah and his family have connections to the British-based group of Libyans who were opposed to the rule of the country’s then-leader, Colonel Gaddafi.

UK students in precarious situation during the pandemic

By Ioan Petrescu, 23 June 2020

An online petition demanding the reimbursement of all this year’s fee due to the pandemic has gathered 345,731 signatures as of the time of writing. Another one, that only asks for refunds for the third semester, has 109,282 signatures.

Germany seeks to tighten European asylum law

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 23 June 2020

The core elements are the internment of refugees at the EU’s external borders and the implementation of fast-track asylum procedures.

The scandal surrounding German MP Philipp Amthor: What is Augustus Intelligence?

By Peter Schwarz, 23 June 2020

The question arises whether Augustus Intelligence is a genuine commercial enterprise or rather a covert intelligence service operation.

Germany: Trial begins in murder of CDU politician Walter Lübcke

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 22 June 2020

The 46-year-old neo-Nazi Stephan Ernst is accused of having shot Kassel District President Walter Lübcke on his terrace on the night of June 2, 2019.

NATO grants Ukraine enhanced status as US steps up military aid

By Jason Melanovski, 22 June 2020

Amid the most profound economic crisis since the Great Depression, the imperialist powers are responding to the growing class tensions by escalating their drive to war.

Suspected assailant in Reading terrorist attack was known to UK intelligence agencies

By Robert Stevens, 22 June 2020

If the assailant is Saadallah, it would be the second terrorist attack carried out in Britain by a Libyan national—who was known to UK intelligence agencies—in the space of three years.

Corporations continue to slash workforces in Britain

By Barry Mason, 22 June 2020

Employers are using every opportunity to exploit the pandemic crisis and further slash costs as they shed thousands of workers.

Julian Assange’s fiancé calls on the Australian government to secure his freedom

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 June 2020

The “60 Minutes” program was the first substantive examination of Assange’s plight by the Australian media since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Responding to mass protests against police brutality, Germany’s Left Party appeals for a police state

By Peter Schwarz and Johannes Stern, 22 June 2020

Germany’s Left Party has responded with open hostility to the mass protests against police violence that have spread around the world following the police murder of George Floyd.

Global outrage over violent police arrest of 50-year-old French nurse Farida

By Will Morrow, 20 June 2020

The response of the French ruling class to health care workers’ demands for increased resources to combat the pandemic in decent and safe conditions is naked repression.

Around 250 workers infected with COVID-19 in three UK food processing plants

By Robert Stevens, 20 June 2020

The outbreaks underscore the criminality of the government’s decision to enforce a mass return to work and the lack of basic work safety in plants that have been operating during the pandemic.

Hundreds of new COVID-19 infections in German meat industry

By Marianne Arens, 20 June 2020

More than two-thirds of the meat packers at the Tönnies abattoir in Rheda-Wiedenbrück have been infected with COVID-19, with 730 positive initial test results out of 1,050 tested.

130,000 jobs at risk in the German auto industry

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting and Peter Schwarz, 20 June 2020

Although German auto companies received a lion’s share of the government’s €130 billion stimulus package, and are collecting billions more via the short-time working scheme, the industry plans to axe more than 100,000 jobs.

Air France-KLM prepares to slash at least 6,000 jobs

By Anthony Torres, 20 June 2020

After receiving a €7 billion public bailout, the French-Dutch airline is preparing to slash between 6,000 and 10,000 jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

OECD warns of deep recession in Britain and Europe due to pandemic

By Steve James, 20 June 2020

The OECD envisages no “return to normal” in the world economy, predicting instead mass unemployment and instability.

Doctors head legal challenge to UK government on health care deaths and PPE

By Rory Woods, 20 June 2020

At least 181 health workers and 131 social care workers have died while working on the frontline.

Financier of 1994 Rwandan genocide Félicien Kabuga arrested in Paris

By Jacques Valentin, 20 June 2020

Kabuga, who financed and helped equip the genocidal Interahamwe militias, had been located by police in 2007 but was still living quietly in the Paris suburbs.

Johnson government mounts offensive against mass opposition to police violence and racism

By Thomas Scripps, 20 June 2020

Home Secretary Priti Patel is linked with a Facebook group providing a platform for the far-right thugs who attacked Black Lives Matter protesters.

Yellow Star, Red Star

Capitalist counterrevolution and the rise of fascism in southeastern Europe since 1989

By Clara Weiss, 20 June 2020

Though fatally flawed by its equation of Stalinism with communism, and the author’s reluctance to discuss the social character of the restoration of capitalism, the book exposes the close relationship between capitalist counterrevolution and the rise of fascist forces.

US escalates trade and economic conflicts

By Nick Beams, 19 June 2020

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has delivered a broadside against the World Trade Organisation and indicated that trade negotiations with the European Union were going nowhere.

Top French general announces preparations for “state against state” wars

By Will Morrow, 19 June 2020

Drawing an analogy to the coronavirus pandemic, Burkhard stated that the eruption of a major war “is missing only the patient zero of the epidemic war.”

British Airways workers in limbo as deadline for mass redundancies passes

By Alice Summers and John Newham, 19 June 2020

One BA worker told the WSWS, “I’ve been with BA for 25 years and was earning more than this new contract in 1996!”

Johnson government reneges on waiving health surcharges on NHS workers from overseas

By Tony Robson, 19 June 2020

What is being demanded by migrant NHS workers is not preferential treatment, but rights that should be extended to all overseas workers.

UK nurses from overseas demand permanent residence after battling COVID-19

By our reporter, 19 June 2020

The SEP was contacted by an overseas nurse from the south of England, urging support for a petition demanding permanent residence for non-EU National Health Service migrant workers.

COVID-19 killing the working class in Britain at more than twice the rate of the wealthiest

By Simon Whelan, 18 June 2020

The pandemic is exacerbating the effects of already growing socioeconomic and urban inequalities.

UK: Marcus Rashford campaign forces Johnson government climbdown over summer free school meals

By Tania Kent and Harvey Thompson, 18 June 2020

The announcement followed a public campaign by 22-year-old Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford.

German Navy prepares for worldwide military missions

By Tino Jacobson and Johannes Stern, 18 June 2020

The ruling elite is making no secret of the imperialist goals associated with the rearmament of the German Navy.

Fascist network uncovered in German Army’s Special Forces unit

By Gregor Link, 18 June 2020

”Right-wing extremist tendencies” are “tolerated” in the KSK and “sometimes consciously covered up,” wrote Der Spiegel based on a soldier’s letter.

UK: 600,000 workers already kicked off payrolls during COVID-19 lockdown

By Robert Stevens, 17 June 2020

Companies are implementing long-planned restructuring operations with mass layoffs, a halt to hiring, and pay cuts the order of the day.

Macron unleashes riot police against French health care protests

By Will Morrow, 17 June 2020

The Macron administration organized a violent assault on health care workers who just weeks earlier were self-servingly hailed for their sacrifice during the pandemic.

French state hands €15 billion bailout to Airbus and Air France

By Kumaran Ira, 17 June 2020

While aerospace firms are receiving massive financial support from the state, they are preparing restructuring plans to slash jobs, wages and benefits.

Macron announces mass bankruptcies and layoffs as coronavirus restrictions are ended

By Alex Lantier, 16 June 2020

With Macron’s brief televised address, the ruling class is declaring an international class war against workers.

Germany: Schools and child daycare centres open despite the high risk of infection

By Marianne Arens, 16 June 2020

The same politicians who pump hundreds of billions of euros of so-called “Corona aid” into the vaults of the big banks and leading companies see no need to equip schools with the measures needed to combat the coronavirus.

UK: Johnson opens the economy and guarantees fresh COVID-19 outbreak

By Thomas Scripps, 16 June 2020

Scientists warn that easing the lockdown under current conditions is likely to lead to a resurgence of coronavirus, endangering lives and throwing away the sacrifices made by workers and their families

UK: Legal action highlights social-Darwinist policies against the disabled during COVID-19 pandemic

By Alice Summers, 16 June 2020

Numerous medical guidance documents published during the pandemic suggest that coronavirus patients can be denied or deprioritised for medical care solely on the basis of their age or existing mental or physical disabilities.

“This government has decided that disabled people are better off dead”

UK disability campaigners speak out on coronavirus pandemic

By Alice Summers, 16 June 2020

The WSWS spoke to disability rights campaigners last weekend about the impact of coronavirus pandemic and the Johnson government’s “herd immunity” policy on the lives of disabled people.

UK government encourages fascist provocation to justify police crackdown

By Thomas Scripps, 15 June 2020

The stage has been set for a law-and-order campaign, directed against anti-police violence protests involving hundreds of thousands of people.

Tens of thousands protest in Paris against police killings of George Floyd and Adama Traoré

By Will Morrow, 15 June 2020

Tens of thousands filled the Place de la République in central Paris on Saturday afternoon to protest police violence and demand justice for the killings.

Germany’s Social Democrats, Greens and Left Party organise police violence against peaceful demonstrators

By Gregor Link, 15 June 2020

The police attacks are part of an effort to criminalise anti-capitalist tendencies.

German unions compete to offer greater cuts at Lufthansa

By Gustav Kemper, 15 June 2020

The union leaders falsely claim employees are “ stakeholders ” in the private company, but to the owners they are mere “ unit costs ” to be sacrificed to shore up profits.