European Workers Issues

Over 8,000 VW autoworkers launch unlimited strike in Slovakia

By Dietmar Henning, 22 June 2017

The autoworkers are engaged in the first strike since VW began operations in the Eastern European country in 1991.

UK unions suppress strikes for duration of general election campaign

By Margot Miller, 6 June 2017

The unions have performed this service on behalf of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who wants no association with actual struggles of the working class.

“It’s sheer slavery”

Amazon warehouse worker in Manchester UK “enterprise zone” speaks of intolerable working conditions

By our reporters, 19 May 2017

Amazon’s warehousing operations have become a byword for ultra-high levels of exploitation of a largely minimum wage workforce, who carry out highly demanding physical work.

VW trade union boss pockets €750,000 per year

By Dietmar Henning, 17 May 2017

It has just been revealed that the salary of Bernd Osterloh, chairman of the joint works council of the Volkswagen Group, totals around €750,000 per year.

French auto parts workers at GM&S threaten to blow up plant to block closure

By Anthony Torres, 16 May 2017

The only way forward is a broad mobilization of workers to defend jobs at GM&S in a break with the union bureaucracies and in opposition to newly elected President Emmanuel Macron.

UK National Union of Teachers sabotages struggle against funding cuts

By Tom Pearce, 16 May 2017

While the NUT continues to oppose action, other education unions, including the NASUWT, are equally concerned about preventing strikes.

Rail companies Bombardier and Siemens plan merger

By Gustav Kemper, 25 April 2017

Since the beginning of 2017, the two rail companies have been engaged in secret merger negotiations behind the backs of their employees.

Fujitsu strikers in the UK speak out in defence of framed-up Maruti Suzuki workers

By our reporters, 22 April 2017

Workers on the picket line at Fujitsu in Manchester discussed support for the victimised Indian workers, their own dispute and Saturday’s international March for Science.

UK nurses in online vote over strike in protest at low pay

By Margot Miller, 22 April 2017

Registered nurses earn an average of just £23,319 per year and had their pay kept up with inflation they would now earn £26,584.

“They’re stuffing money into the pockets of the shareholders”

British autoworkers strike BMW to defend pensions

By our reporters, 20 April 2017

The strike is the first by the BMW’s British workforce, who could lose up to £160,000 each if pension cuts are enforced.

Attend NHS FightBack meeting in Bournemouth

UK: Oppose health care cuts, redundancies and privatisation of the National Health Service

Statement by NHS FightBack

11 April 2017

Health workers and all those who want to fight in defence of the NHS must build a new leadership, which fights on the basis of a socialist programme.

Occupational therapist and service user condemn attack on Bournemouth Intermediate Care Team

By Ajanta Silva, 11 April 2017

A resident said, “The loss of this team should be of grave concern to everybody in Bournemouth.”

Southern GTR train drivers in UK vote down union sell-out again

Build new organisations of struggle to unify rail workers

By Michael Barnes, 6 April 2017

Rail workers must break the stranglehold of the unions by creating their own rank-and-file organisations of struggle.

Irish bus workers defy unions and continue strike

By Dermot Quinn, 5 April 2017

To the consternation of the unions and political establishment, Bus Eireann workers set up pickets at city bus depots and trains last Friday.

German auto workers oppose Maruti Suzuki frame-up

By K. Nesan, 5 April 2017

Many Daimler workers in Stuttgart agreed to sign the online petition demanding the release of their colleagues in India.

UK: Strikers at Fujitsu support release of framed-up Maruti Suzuki workers

By our reporters, 29 March 2017

The pickets expressed their support for the campaign to release the Maruti Suzuki workers by applauding a Socialist Equality Party member who had appealed to them for support.

For a unified struggle of drivers and conductors

Vote “no” to the ASLEF sell-out deal at UK’s Southern GTR rail!

By the Socialist Equality Party (UK), 22 March 2017

Another “no” vote in opposition to the ASLEF/Southern deal would represent a powerful blow against the plans by the train companies and government to impose DOO.

UK train conductors strike three rail companies

By Robert Stevens, 14 March 2017

The strike by 2,000 conductors proves the willingness of transport workers to fight the destruction of their working conditions and livelihoods.

UK striking rail conductors explain: “This is about the public and their safety”

By our reporters, 14 March 2017

WSWS reporters spoke to striking rail conductors during Monday’s strikes.

UK rail conductors strike at three companies to defend jobs and safety conditions

By Robert Stevens, 13 March 2017

Claims by the government and rail companies that removing conductors and eventually drivers will have no impact on public safety have been proven false by several recent incidents.

UK: Unite union imposes isolation of Heathrow cabin crew strike

By Ross Mitchell and Robert Stevens, 11 March 2017

Unite has done nothing to mobilise the support of other cabin crew in defence of the Heathrow crew, either at that airport or at any other in the UK.

“They want to cut thousands of jobs.”

PSA purchases Opel-Vauxhall from General Motors

By Marianne Arens, 8 March 2017

The works council and IG Metall union are covering up the danger facing the jobs and living standards of workers after the takeover of Opel and Vauxhall by the PSA Group.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

3 March 2017

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Southern railway workers in UK strike in the face of union sabotage

By Michael Barnes, 28 February 2017

Southern Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) conductors and drivers carried out a 24-hour strike to oppose job-cutting demands that endanger passengers.

With mass job cuts looming, German union pits Bombardier workers against one another

By Dietmar Henning, 24 February 2017

The Canadian aircraft and train manufacturer Bombardier is planning massive job cuts, including the possible closure of factories.

Spanish dockworkers threaten to strike

By Alejandro López, 24 February 2017

Dockers are facing a savage attack on their working conditions by the Popular Party-led government, port companies and the European Union.

UK: Southern GTR drivers vote against union-backed sellout deal

By Michael Barnes, 18 February 2017

This principled stand by a majority of drivers comes despite immense pressure from management and the union to accept the deal.

Lufthansa-union agreement on arbitration ruling: an attack on pilots in Germany

By Dietmar Henning, 18 February 2017

Lufthansa and the pilots union have accepted an arbitration ruling on compensation for 5,400 pilots, and the airline linked the agreement with a new declaration of war on workers.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By our reporters, 17 February 2017

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UK: A conductor’s appeal to Southern GTR drivers

Vote “no” in the “referendum” on Driver Only trains

8 February 2017

The Socialist Equality Party (UK) has received the following letter from a train conductor.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

27 January 2017

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Verdi union strangles bus drivers’ strike in Hesse, Germany

By Marianne Arens, 23 January 2017

With the two-week strike by bus drivers gaining popular support, the public service sector union Verdi agreed to arbitration and to enforce “industrial peace.”

Support the striking bus drivers in Hesse, Germany!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Germany), 21 January 2017

The strike by Hesse bus drivers is significant because millions of workers in Germany, Europe and throughout the world suffer under similar conditions.

UK: ASLEF drivers’ union calls off Southern Rail strikes

By Robert Stevens, 20 January 2017

The planned action was over the company’s plans to widen the use of driver only operated trains.

Striking bus drivers in Hesse, Germany: “The latest company offer is a joke”

By Marianne Arens, 20 January 2017

Verdi is conducting the most limited possible action, mobilizing only bus drivers immediately affected while refusing to extend it to other sections of workers.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

20 January 2017

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Germany: Bus drivers in Hesse continue their strike

By Marianne Arens, 18 January 2017

In the last few weeks and months, workers in bus and transport companies and the public sector have commenced major strikes in France, Italy and the US.

Subway, train and airline workers strike in the UK

By Robert Stevens, 11 January 2017

The 24-hour strike that paralysed the London subway system Monday was followed by the start of two 48-hour walkouts by drivers on Southern Rail and British Airways cabin crew.

UK rail union TSSA and pro-Corbyn Momentum stoke up anti-European sentiment

By Paul Mitchell, 10 January 2017

A video posted by the pro-Corbyn Momentum organization seeks to portray the population of Europe as benefitting from the privatization if the UK’s rail network.

Wakefield school cleaning workers sacked after three-month strike in UK

By Barry Mason, 6 January 2017

Unison, with over 1.2 million members and an annual income of more than £200 million, has proved unwilling and incapable of defending the jobs of three embattled cleaners.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

6 January 2017

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UK: Appalling warehouse working conditions exposed at JD Sports

By Joe Mount, 3 January 2017

A succession of governments have created the conditions for the legal, uninhibited exploitation of workers, removing restrictions on business and cutting spending on welfare benefits.

1,000 former GM Opel workers facing joblessness in Germany

By Dietmar Henning, 3 January 2017

Instead of the new jobs promised by the IG Metall union, Opel workers face precarious employment, temporary work and welfare.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

30 December 2016

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Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

23 December 2016

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

UK unions seek to head off further strikes

By Chris Marsden, 22 December 2016

This week, a strike by conductors on Southern Rail was joined by a walkout of Crown Post Office workers, while further action was scheduled to take place at Swissport and British Airways.

Berlin’s Humboldt University plans massive job cuts

By Katerina Selin, 19 December 2016

The latest developments at Humboldt University are linked to the drastic austerity policy of the Berlin Senate regarding higher education.

Unions back pension attacks at Tata Steel UK

By Danny Richardson, 15 December 2016

Tata and the unions are working to abolish the British Steel Pension Scheme that Tata had been seeking to eliminate ever since it bought its UK steel plants in 2007.

Rail strike halts services throughout southern England

By Richard Tyler, 14 December 2016

The ability of railworkers to prosecute a successful fight to defend their pay, conditions and the safety of the travelling public, is undermined by the unions and Labour Party.

Striking Lufthansa pilots demonstrate in Frankfurt

By Marianne Arens, 2 December 2016

Hundreds of striking Lufthansa pilots gathered at Rhein-Main Airport in Frankfurt on day seven of the latest pilots’ strike.

Irish unions seek deal with government to prevent industrial unrest

By Dermot Quinn, 2 December 2016

Posturing as defenders of workers interests, the union bureaucracy is trying to re-establish the “social partnership” agreement with the government it previously enjoyed.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

2 December 2016

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Germany: Striking pilots need a socialist perspective

By Ulrich Rippert, 1 December 2016

The strike by 5,400 Lufthansa pilots deserves the support of all workers.

Lufthansa makes new offer to striking pilots

By Dietmar Henning, 28 November 2016

The offer made by the Lufthansa board on Friday evening is aimed at breaking the resistance of the pilots’ union and pushing through fundamental changes in working conditions.

Huge growth in “precarious employment” in the UK

By Thomas Scripps, 28 November 2016

The total number of workers in self-employment, temporary work and zero-hours contracts has increased by nearly 2 million over the past decade.

“Buried alive by the National Coal Board”

The Aberfan disaster in Wales 50 years on

By Margot Miller, 28 November 2016

A total of 116 children perished in the avalanche of coal waste—almost half of those at Pantglas Junior School—along with 28 adults, including five teachers.

Volkswagen plans 30,000 job cuts

By Dietmar Henning, 19 November 2016

VW and its works council agreed to the destruction of more than one in seven of the company’s current 200,000 staff worldwide as part of the so-called Pact for the Future.

Uber UK verdict highlights super-exploitation through “self-employment”

By Thomas Scripps, 19 November 2016

Since its founding seven years ago, Uber has extended its reach to 66 countries and 507 cities worldwide, with over 1 million drivers.

Buyer reportedly found for German supermarket chain

By Dietmar Henning, 3 November 2016

An agreement has reportedly been reached to divide up the German supermarket chain Kaiser’s Tengelmann.

Germany: UFO union calls off strikes and begs for hearing with Lufthansa bosses

By Dietmar Henning, 2 November 2016

The Independent Flight Attendants Organisation has cancelled strikes planned for this week at Eurowings, declaring it is “speechless” at the company's tough stance.

Eurowings strike grounds domestic German flights

By Dietmar Henning, 31 October 2016

The conflict is a reaction to Lufthansa’s strategy of reducing the wages and working conditions of all of its employees to the level of its cut-price subsidiary airline Eurowings.

Flight attendants union calls off strikes at Eurowings airline in Germany

By Dietmar Henning, 26 October 2016

The small sectoral union, Ufo, does not represent any alternative to the large service sector union Verdi which collaborates closely with Lufthansa and other companies.

National strike needed in Britain to defend striking Southern GTR conductors

By Michael Barnes, 18 October 2016

Conductors should reject the RMT’s proposal to accept new contracts.

German government expands military operations in the Middle East

By Johannes Stern, 14 October 2016

In future, German soldiers will monitor Syrian airspace on board NATO’s AWACS reconnaissance planes.

Italy: Strikes and protests against the Renzi government’s “Jobs Act”

By Marianne Arens, 4 October 2016

Italy is experiencing a wave of strikes by rail workers, flight attendants and teachers that are also directed against the traditional unions.

The pseudo-left’s role in the defeat of the British junior doctors’ struggle

By Robert Stevens, 3 October 2016

The Socialist Workers Party sowed illusions in the trade unions and the Labour Party at every juncture in the junior doctors' struggle.

Irish unions call off Dublin bus strike

By Dermot Quinn, 30 September 2016

The unions are winding down the dispute and paving the way for the defeat of their members’ struggle.

The Verdi union’s despicable role in the breakup of Germany’s Kaiser’s Tengelmann retail group

By Marianne Arens, 30 September 2016

Roundtable talks, secret negotiations, time limit extensions—the unions are seeking to ensure nothing prevents the smooth sell-off of the retail chain.

German supermarket chain to be broken up with thousands of jobs lost

By Marianne Arens, 22 September 2016

The trade unions and the SPD have given their seal of approval to the destruction of jobs, wages and workers’ rights in the store chain merger.

French unions join far-right movement against refugees in Calais

By Anthony Torres, 12 September 2016

The CGT is inciting nationalist hatred to divide the workers and disorient their opposition to the wars and social cuts of the French government, which it helped elect.

Working conditions worsen in Germany

By Dietmar Henning, 10 September 2016

Working conditions in Germany have worsened significantly. Evening, night and weekend work as well as both paid and unpaid overtime are on the rise.

Appeal by Berlin Senate candidate Andy Niklaus: Workers need their own party!

By Andy Niklaus, 9 September 2016

Andy Niklaus has worked for the Berlin Transport Company for 25 years and is running as a candidate of the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit in the Berlin Senate elections on September 18.

British Medical Association calls off junior doctors strikes

By Robert Stevens, 8 September 2016

The junior doctors have been isolated by both the trade unions and by the Labour Party, with a key role played by party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Volkswagen production halt affects almost 30,000 workers

By Dietmar Henning, 24 August 2016

The hard-line position of company headquarters toward suppliers is part of a massive attack on workers.

UK: Strike action at historic low, and unions work to keep it that way

By Simon Whelan, 23 August 2016

The virtual disappearance of strikes during a period when workers’ jobs, wages, and conditions have been under unparalleled attack is a damning indictment of the trade unions.

Trade unions work to suppress German hospital strikes

By Markus Salzmann, 23 August 2016

With some difficulty, the trade unions managed to suppress the justifiable anger over poor working conditions and inadequate pay at hospitals.

Thyssen-Krupp Steel works council meeting prepares job cuts in Germany

By Dietmar Henning, 18 August 2016

Around 250 works council officials from Thyssen Krupp’s steel division met at a conference last Friday in Duisburg.

Lufthansa sets a course for confrontation with pilots

By Marianne Arens, 16 August 2016

The breaking off of talks between the pilots’ union and management heralds a new phase in the dispute.

BHS scandal in the UK: The real face of capitalism

By Jean Shaoul, 13 August 2016

The BHS/Philip Green scandal shows how asset-stripping, sale-and-lease-back arrangements, dummy companies and tax havens are now the norm, not the exception.

Union calls off UK rail strikes

By Michael Barnes, 12 August 2016

By calling off the Scotrail and Southern GTR strikes, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union has again proved its worth to the government and the rail companies.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

12 August 2016

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Southern rail conductors begin longest UK rail strike in 50 years

By Robert Stevens, 9 August 2016

The five-day stoppage by train conductors on the busy Southern rail network has caused widespread disruption, with some 60 percent of services expected to be cancelled.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

5 August 2016

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UK: Weymouth and Bridport bus drivers escalate strike action

By Ajanta Silva, 3 August 2016

The Weymouth bus drivers’ dispute demonstrates that whenever the union bureaucracy are forced to call industrial action, they ensure that it remains isolated.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

29 July 2016

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UK trade unions fail to mobilise for anti-austerity demonstration

By Paul Mitchell, 19 July 2016

The most striking feature of the London demo was the absence of trade union leaders and Labour “lefts.”

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

15 July 2016

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Five agency workers crushed to death in British scrapyard

By Danny Richardson, 11 July 2016

Three serious incidents have occurred at the Hawkeswood Metal recycling plant in the Nechells area of Birmingham in the last few years.

UK junior doctors vote to reject contract

By Paul Mitchell, 7 July 2016

Junior doctors rejected a contract supported by the British Medical Association union that slashes overtime pay and extends working hours.

Lufthansa flight attendants union accepts arbitration agreement

By Marianne Arens, 6 July 2016

By agreeing to the arbitration award, the union is stabbing cabin staff and pilots in the back in their struggle to defend jobs, wages and pensions.

UK teachers hold one-day strike against education bill

By Tania Kent, 5 July 2016

The strike by National Union of Teachers members takes place amid the drive for the complete privatisation of state education.

Volkswagen: 700 workers lose their jobs in Germany

By Dietmar Henning, 5 July 2016

The VW board is using the company’s current crisis to make long-planned cuts in its workforce, relying heavily on the IG Metall trade union and its related works councils.

Workers at two UK rail companies strike against threat to jobs and safety

By Michael Barnes, 29 June 2016

On all existing driver-only operations there are no conductors or onboard staff, other than the revenue inspectors.

IG Metall trade union backs Volkswagen board

By Dietmar Henning, 28 June 2016

IG Metall sprang to the support of management, which is exploiting the emission scandal to impose the biggest ever attacks on jobs, wages and conditions.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

24 June 2016

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Despite mounting opposition, French unions signal concessions on labor law

By Alex Lantier, 20 June 2016

The Stalinist General Confederation of Labor has indicated that it may be open to negotiating firm-level contracts under the new law that violate the national Labor Code.

Billionaire former BHS boss faces down UK parliamentary committee

By Jean Shaoul, 20 June 2016

Some 11,000 workers are set to lose their jobs and around 22,000 present and future retirees will see their pensions decimated after the collapse of high street retailer BHS.

Leeds bus workers strike over pay

By Barbara Slaughter, 18 June 2016

Earlier this month, 250 workers employed by First Bus Leeds voted unanimously to reject management’s paltry pay offer and begin a campaign of strike action.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

17 June 2016

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Belgian unions try to suppress country’s growing strike wave

By Ross Mitchell and Paul Bond, 13 June 2016

The unions in Belgium and France view a joint struggle by workers in both countries as a threat.