European Workers Issues

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.

047 Ford layoffs

22 March 2019

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.

020 Hungary autoworkers strike

26 January 2019

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.

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.

070 Macron and yellow vests

19 January 2019

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.

20 December 2018

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.

Ex-1968 student leader Cohn-Bendit denounces French “yellow vest” protests

By Alex Lantier, 14 December 2018

The eruption of a political movement in the working class has provoked a rabidly hostile reaction from the middle-class anti-Marxist “left” milieu.

Russian workers strike against social misery and austerity

By Clara Weiss, 13 December 2018

The crackdown on the strike in Kamchatka reflects the fear within the Russian oligarchy that the development of the class struggle internationally will sooner rather than later drive Russian workers into open struggle.

Mass layoffs threatened at European GM and Ford plants

By Marianne Arens, 12 December 2018

As part of the new restructuring of the global auto industry, Ford is seeking to cut 25,000 jobs worldwide, with the largest number of job losses in Europe.

High school students protest in Paris against French government’s education reforms

By Alex Lantier, 12 December 2018

The students are opposing the government’s right-wing reforms and re-imposition of compulsory military service, while showing their support for the “yellow vests.”

UK unions call off strikes against redundancies at Cammell Laird shipyard

By Barry Mason, 12 December 2018

The unions have already made clear they accept the need to reduce costs, urging only that there should be no compulsory redundancies.

Egypt bans yellow vest sales as French protesters reject Macron’s concessions

By Alex Lantier, 11 December 2018

Governments worldwide are panicking in the face of the growing militancy and political radicalization of the international working class.

UK workers, young people defend Yellow Vest protests in France: “I only wish that we could do it here as well!”

By our reporters, 11 December 2018

WSWS reporters spoke to workers and youth in Britain who support the Yellow Vest protests in France.

Which way forward for France’s “yellow vest” protests?

By Alex Lantier, 10 December 2018

The critical question is the independent organization of the working class, in France and internationally, in the preparation of a European general strike.

The “yellow vests”: A movement of workers against social inequality

By our reporters, 10 December 2018

In this video, workers participating in France’s “yellow vests” demonstrations explain their demands and appeal for international support.

German workers express solidarity with “yellow vest” protests in France

By our reporters, 10 December 2018

German workers who spoke with Socialist Equality Party (SGP) candidates, expressed sympathy with the mass protests of the “yellow vests” in France. Many share the same grievances and confront the same inequities.

France’s “yellow vest” protesters brave repression and mass arrests

By Alex Lantier and Kumaran Ira, 9 December 2018

The French president’s attempts to staunch the protests through a combination of phony concessions and state violence have clearly failed.

French government threatens bloody crackdown on “yellow vest” protest

By Alex Lantier and Francis Dubois, 8 December 2018

Amid rising popular support for demonstrations against austerity and inequality, French officials are warning they will stop at nothing to halt the protests.

UK: University and College Union seeks to demobilise pay dispute

By Simon Whelan and Robert Stevens, 8 December 2018

The UCU, past masters at isolating and demobilising struggles over pay and job losses, finally authorised a token pay strike at the end of November—at just six institutions.

The demonstrations in France and the global class struggle

By Alex Lantier, 7 December 2018

As they face Macron’s brutal crackdown, workers and students in France fighting austerity and inequality must turn to the international working class.

“We stand with you because all of us are in the same fight”

US autoworkers express class solidarity with French workers

By Jerry White, 6 December 2018

The determination of the “yellow vest” protesters in the face of state repression by the French government has inspired workers in the United States and around the world.

German chemical giant Bayer slashes 12,000 jobs

By Dietmar Henning, 6 December 2018

Bayer AG has announced plans to cut a tenth of its workforce worldwide and divest parts of its corporate empire.

Socialist Equality Party opposes RMT rail union sellout at Liverpool meeting

By our reporters, 6 December 2018

For over two years, RMT and the drivers’ union ASLEF in the UK have sabotaged the fight by thousands of guards in defence of their jobs and the safety of railway users.

GM, Ford, Bayer, Bombardier

Global investors demand escalation of class war on workers’ jobs and wages

By Jerry White, 5 December 2018

The plant closings and layoffs at GM are part of a broader assault on the working class throughout the world being directed by the most powerful corporate interests.

Mobilize the working class against Macron!

By Alex Lantier, 5 December 2018

The critical task facing protests against austerity and inequality in France is to expand the struggle more broadly into the French and international working class.

High school students and ambulance drivers join ‘Yellow Vest’ protests in France

By Alex Lantier, 4 December 2018

With a fourth consecutive Saturday of mass demonstrations against French President Emmanuel Macron’s regressive taxes planned this weekend, tens of thousands of high school students throughout France have staged demonstrations at their schools.

The mass protests in France: A new stage in the international class struggle

By The World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board, 3 December 2018

This weekend’s anti-austerity demonstrations in France have shown the working class to be not just an oppressed class, but a revolutionary class.

Third “yellow vest” protest in France defies government crackdown

By Anthony Torres, 3 December 2018

As protests spread across Europe, after the most violent police crackdown in downtown Paris in a half century, a historic political crisis is erupting.

Strikes and demonstrations shake France

By Alex Lantier, 1 December 2018

The struggles pose the necessity of organizing workers and youth independently of the unions and the parties defending Macron.

Catalonia rocked by a week of strikes against austerity

By Alejandro López, 1 December 2018

For years the regional bourgeoisie has relentlessly promoted Catalan nationalism to bury the socio-economic concerns of workers and youth, both Spanish and Catalan.

UK: Cammell Laird shipyard workers strike against redundancies, Iran sugar and steel strike continues against pay arrears, South Africa’s Sibanye gold miners reject company/union pay deal

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

1 December 2018

Workers at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, England have launched a series of strikes over redundancies while workers at the Tappeh Sugar Cane mill in Iran are continuing a walkout and gold miners in South Africa are continuing a series of job actions marked by employer violence.

Rejecting Macron’s speech, fuel tax protesters call new demonstrations in France

By Alex Lantier, 28 November 2018

French President Macron’s decision to give a speech addressing the protesters only made clear that he firmly intends to pursue his right-wing policies and has nothing to offer.

Slanders depicting “Yellow Vest” protesters as violent neo-fascists collapse

By our reporter, 28 November 2018

None of those arrested at the demonstrations in Paris were wanted on charges associated with either far-right or anarchist groups.

Greek workers protest social attacks by Syriza government

By John Vassilopoulos, 27 November 2018

Strikes and protests in Greece are part of a wider upsurge of the class struggle throughout Europe.

Falling building debris causes injuries and deaths while profits mount for UK developers

By Charles Hixson, 27 November 2018

Rather than being random tragedies, such accidents are the direct result of deliberate government policies.

No to Macron’s maneuvers to strangle the Yellow Vest protests in France

By Alex Lantier, 27 November 2018

The talks Macron is slated to offer today to the Yellow Vest protesters are a trap for a movement that requires a turn to the working class and a revolutionary strategy.

French riot police assault mass protests in Paris

By Alex Lantier, 26 November 2018

The French Interior Ministry claimed that 106,000 people participated in over a thousand protests across France, including 8,000 demonstrators on the Champs-Elysées in Paris.

UK: Vauxhall and Cammell Laird workers strike against mass job cuts

By Robert Stevens, 26 November 2018

Both strikes have developed in a rebellion against the collaboration, by the Unite and GMB trade unions, with the employers’ job cuts.

French president bans fuel tax protest in Paris as strikes expand

By Alex Lantier, 24 November 2018

As the government of French President Emanuel Macron moved to ban protests against its fuel tax increase, strikes and demonstrations in support of the protest movement spread across France yesterday.

Black Friday strikes hit Amazon in Europe

By our reporters, 24 November 2018

Amazon workers launched strikes and protests in Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, France and the UK.