European Workers Issues


The role of the UCU Left in the effort to shut down the UK lecturers strike

By Robert Stevens, 17 March 2018

From its formation, the UCU Left pledged to work with the right wing within the UCU leadership, and has served to suppress opposition and bolster the authority of the unions.

UK: Lecturers and students speak on struggle to fight savage pension cuts

By our reporters, 17 March 2018

WSWS reporters spoke to striking lecturers and students on picket lines and at rallies Thursday and Friday in London and Glasgow.

UK lecturers resume strike following rebellion against UCU sellout agreement

By Robert Stevens, 15 March 2018

From the beginning of the dispute, the SEP has insisted that the UCU is not an organisation fighting in the interests of workers. It is a tool of management and, as with all the unions, cannot be reformed through rank and file pressure.

UK university lecturers revolt against union sell-out agreement

By Robert Stevens, 14 March 2018

Thousands protested nationally and hundreds of lecturers lobbied outside the union’s headquarters in London Tuesday to demand rejection of a deal reached the previous evening.

“I’m delighted with the voices of solidarity from West Virginia”

Students and lecturers at the University of Aberdeen speak about the issues in the strike

By our reporters, 14 March 2018

Members of the IYSSE spoke to students and striking lecturers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland about the issues in the lecturers’ struggle.

Striking UK lecturers speak out to denounce attempted UCU sell-out: “I’d like to see the membership taking control more as it has done today”

By our reporters, 14 March 2018

World Socialist Web Site reporters interviewed striking lecturers at an all-day protest of several hundred lecturers, students and university workers outside UCU’s headquarters in North London.

Argentine teachers, public workers unions call another limited strike

Workers Struggles: The Americas

13 March 2018

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

Britain: 15,000 jobs in retail and leisure under threat, as jobs go throughout economy

By Richard Tyler, 10 March 2018

The high street retail and leisure sectors have been impacted by uncertainty over the consequences of Brexit and online shopping.

UK lecturers speak in support of West Virginia teachers

By our reporters, 7 March 2018

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to striking UK lecturers and other university staff during the first two days of this week’s four-day strike in Leeds, Glasgow and Manchester.

French unions negotiate rail privatization with Macron government

By Anthony Torres, 2 March 2018

The unions and the Macron government plan to discuss for two months how to implement the EU-mandated opening of French railways to private competition by privatizing the SNCF and gutting the rail workers’ statute.

UK university lecturers, college staff and students hold joint protest in London

By our reporters, 1 March 2018

The rally followed the previous day’s talks during which the union signalled its intention to capitulate by offering further concessions over pensions.

The UK lecturer’s dispute and the marketisation of higher education

By Thomas Scripps, 1 March 2018

The attack on university lecturers is one element in a far advanced programme aimed at the destruction of higher education as it has been known for decades.

Skoda workers in the Czech Republic prepare to strike

By Ulrich Rippert, 1 March 2018

The strike preparations at Skoda are part of a growing radicalisation of workers in Eastern Europe, who are no longer willing to accept conditions of extreme exploitation.

French President Macron turns his labor decrees against rail workers

By Alex Lantier, 28 February 2018

On Monday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced plans to end the French rail workers' statute and privatize the French National Railways.

UK lecturers stage second day of national strikes

By Robert Stevens, 24 February 2018

In contrast to the stand by lecturers and students, the University and College Union has insisted that the strikes give way as soon as possible to resumed negotiations.

Lecturers and students stage united protests in Sheffield and Southampton

By our reporters, 24 February 2018

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to lecturers and students at universities around the UK.

Air France workers strike to demand pay increase

By Anthony Torres, 23 February 2018

Rejecting a miserable sweetheart contract negotiated by a group of trade unions closely allied to management, Air France workers took strike action yesterday.

Amazon set to open new depot in Sheffield—“low pay capital of the UK”

By Danny Richardson, 20 February 2018

Sheffield and its surrounding area was previously a major steel producing region with Amazon building its “Fulfilment Centres” in the South Yorkshire area on shuttered steel plants.

UK “gig economy” worker’s death tied to no sick pay, no sick leave

By Margot Miller, 17 February 2018

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, five million people are employed, either full or part-time, for courier firms, minicab apps such as Uber or takeaways such as Deliveroo.

IG Metall union shuts down strike by hundreds of thousands in Germany

By Christoph Vandreier, 7 February 2018

The suppression of the strike paves the way for the formation of a grand coalition government that will slash workers’ wages and benefits to pay for military rearmament.

Half a million metalworkers participate in strikes in Germany

By our reporters, 3 February 2018

On Friday, the all-day warning strikes in the metal and electrical industries culminated with hundreds of thousands of workers on strike.

French workers support growing mass strikes in Germany

By V. Gnana and Alex Lantier, 3 February 2018

“If we support their struggle today, they will support our struggle tomorrow,” said a day laborer working multiple jobs in Paris.

German industrial workers shut down auto sector as strikes spread

By our reporters, 2 February 2018

Workers in the automotive and electrical industries are striking for a third consecutive day for higher wages and the voluntary reduction of the workweek.

“Our job is like working in a slaughterhouse”

French retirement home workers strike to defend elderly, working conditions

By Anthony Torres, 2 February 2018

In an unprecedented event on Tuesday, workers at retirement homes (Ehpad) across France overwhelmingly followed calls for strike action.

Tens of thousands of German industrial workers on strike

By our reporters, 1 February 2018

Up to 500,000 workers are participating in one-day strikes in Germany’s automotive and electrical industries, the largest strikes in the sector for 15 years.

Hundreds of thousands of industrial workers strike in Germany

By Peter Schwarz, 31 January 2018

Germany’s biggest strike wave in 15 years is another sign that 2018 will see an intensification of class struggle internationally.

German industrial workers poised to launch massive strikes

By Dietmar Henning, 29 January 2018

Due to the militant atmosphere in the plants, the IG Metall union was compelled against its wishes to break off the fifth round of collective bargaining talks in Baden-Württemberg.

Germany: IG Metall greets far-right AfD participants at union protest

By our correspondents, 23 January 2018

The reactionary orientation of the union was most evident when an IGM functionary greeted the participation of the far-right AfD on the demonstration.

Carillion collapse in UK leaves pension scheme deficit of £2.6 billion

By Robert Stevens, 22 January 2018

A Sky News investigation revealed that Carillion’s debts and pension liabilities were almost double the amount initially cited.

UK: The political lessons of Carillion’s collapse

By Julie Hyland, 17 January 2018

When CEOs, accountants, regulators and governments are all implicated in such events, it is not the corruption of a single corporate entity that is at issue, but the capitalist profit system itself.

UK: Carillion collapse threatens jobs and pensions, exposing plunder of social assets

By Julie Hyland, 16 January 2018

There are reports of banks shifting Carillion off their balance sheets over the last months in anticipation of its inevitable folding.

The merger of Germany’s Thyssen with Tata Steel

Vote “No” on union-backed steel contract! Defend all jobs!

By the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei, 16 January 2018

The Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei calls upon steelworkers at ThyssenKrupp to reject the contract negotiated by the IG Metall trade union and to take measures to prepare a struggle to defend all jobs.

German industrial workers continue strikes

By Ulrich Rippert, 13 January 2018

The IG Metall trade union is increasingly concerned by the unrest and radical atmosphere in the plants, but has indicated its readiness to compromise and reach a sell-out deal.

Greek workers stop work in opposition to Syriza anti-strike and austerity measures

By Robert Stevens, 13 January 2018

Strikes shut down the Athens rail system, ships were unable to sail, and state-run hospitals were forced to rely on reserve staff.

160,000 industrial workers strike in Germany

By Peter Schwarz, 11 January 2018

Amid widespread anger over social inequality and corporate job-cutting, there is a growing determination to fight for improvements in wages and working conditions.

French automaker PSA colludes with unions to prepare mass job cuts

By Alex Lantier, 10 January 2018

PSA Peugeot-Citroën is slashing jobs across Europe and in France, where it is using provisions of President Emmanuel Macron’s antidemocratic labor decrees.

French chemical industry unions back contract violating minimum wage laws

By Alex Lantier, 8 January 2018

Backed by the European Union, President Emmanuel Macron is using his labor decrees to try to scrap basic social rights won by the working class.

Volkswagen plans to dismiss all temporary contract workers in German plants

By Dietmar Henning, 8 January 2018

VW’s mass firing of temporary contract workers is the prelude to sweeping job cuts and attacks on the gains of all autoworkers.

UK rail workers continue strikes against Driver Only Operated train plans

By Michael Barnes, 8 January 2018

As dangerous incidents begin to escalate, the rail companies and the Tory government refuse to retreat in their war against conductors’ jobs.

UK workers confront rising job losses in 2018

By Tony Robson, 8 January 2018

At no point have Unite, GMB, the retail workers union, USDAW, or any other, even mooted a fight in defence of a single job.

Regional transport workers strike in Netherlands

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

5 January 2018

A 24-hour strike involving some 12,000 workers hit bus and train service on Thursday in the Netherlands to demand better pay and working conditions.

Macron turns France’s labor decrees on auto workers

By Alex Lantier, 29 December 2017

The announcement of mass layoffs by Europe’s second-largest automaker is part of a relentless international assault on workers' jobs, working conditions and social rights.

Israeli workers protest job cuts

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

29 December 2017

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

Massive job cuts at Opel and Vauxhall

By Marianne Arens, 23 December 2017

The management board, works council and IG Metall union have agreed on a drastic reduction in staff and labour costs at Opel to make the company more profitable.

Engineering workers occupy three BiFab yards in Scotland

By Darren Paxton and Sandy Campbell, 23 December 2017

Although workers effectively took control of the yards, the GMB and Unite trade unions were at pains to insist the action was a “work-in.”

Wildcat strike stops production as workers eject union leaders at Ford Romania

By Eric London, 23 December 2017

The spontaneous walkout took place the day after Ford and the union agreed to a sellout contract with similar terms as those imposed on workers in the US and Canada.

General Electric follows Siemens in announcing mass layoffs

By Gustav Kemper, 12 December 2017

The American conglomerate General Electric announced the layoff of 12,000 workers last week, including 4,500 in Europe.

Protesting workers at bankrupt Air Berlin denounce Merkel government

By Gustav Kemper, 27 November 2017

More than a thousand employees of the insolvent airline gathered Wednesday in front of Berlin Central Station for a demonstration against imminent mass redundancies.

Bus workers in northwest England escalate strikes for pay parity

By John Newham, 27 November 2017

As more disputes erupt, the unions are doing everything to contain the situation and oppose any united offensive by transport workers.

Strikes at five UK rail companies

By our reporter, 13 November 2017

Outside London Waterloo, the UK’s busiest train station, large pickets were mounted as up to half of all services were cancelled.

Plant closures and layoffs on the agenda at German conglomerate Siemens

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 9 November 2017

Several thousand job cuts will hit Siemens Group's Power Generation sector as well as its subsidiary, Siemens Gamesa, which manufactures wind turbines.

Siemens and Alstom rail train units merge as corporations prepare for trade war

By Gustav Kemper, 6 October 2017

The merger of the two companies, with 62,000 employees and an annual turnover of around 15 billion euros, creates the world’s second-largest railway technology company.

Monarch Airlines collapse causes air travel chaos

By Steve James, 3 October 2017

Monarch is the third major European airline to go under this year.

Millions of European workers in precarious employment

By Verena Nees, 26 September 2017

On the 150th anniversary of Marx’s Capital, a new report reveals how European capitalism has created a huge army of precarious workers, plunging millions into poverty.

Portuguese nurses strike against an 11-year pay freeze

By Ajanta Silva and Paul Mitchell, 20 September 2017

Despite Socialist Party government threats, some 85 percent of the 70,000 nurses in the country took part in the strike, bringing services to a halt.

French unions try to strangle workers’ opposition to Macron

By Anthony Torres and Alex Lantier, 19 September 2017

The unions, whose strike calls are carefully prepared beforehand with the government, are terrified of being outflanked on their left by an eruption of workers’ struggles.

UK: Pay cap for majority of public sector workers to continue, despite government defeat

By Robert Stevens, 14 September 2017

August saw a further precipitous decline in living standards for all workers, due to the rising cost of fuel, clothes and food imports, with wages as a share of national income the lowest since the Second World War.

Royal College of Nursing union holds rally in London

No answers to attacks on public health care

By Ajanta Silva and Paul Mitchell, 8 September 2017

The “Summer of Action” was largely restricted to appeals to MPs and photo opportunities for RCN bureaucrats and union officials making occasional media appearances.

Rank-and-file committees needed to take forward UK rail workers' safety fight

By Tony Robson, 6 September 2017

Workers need to take the dispute out of the hands of the ASLEF and the RMT and link it with a broader struggle against austerity and cost-cutting in the public and private sectors.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

Portuguese Volkswagen workers rebel against Workers Commission collaboration

2 September 2017

Volkswagen workers in Portugal launched a strike against the German-based automaker the week over extended Saturday working.

Unions help Caterpillar restructure with closure of Belgian operations

By Ross Mitchell, 30 August 2017

The Caterpillar plant in Gosselies was the biggest industrial site in Wallonia, Belgium’s southern, primarily French-speaking region.

Conservative government review of UK “gig economy”—a whitewash for the corporations

By Thomas Scripps, 28 August 2017

The report’s bias in favour of employers is not an oversight, as the political establishment that Matthew Taylor speaks for has no intention of bringing “precarious employment” under control.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

British Airways cabin crew extend strike

11 August 2017

The dispute is one of the longest running in the history of the European airline industry.

Union ends strike by Fiat Chrysler workers in Serbia

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

21 July 2017

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

New strikes in the UK against Driver Only Operated trains

By Thomas Scripps, 15 July 2017

Recent talks have enabled Southern, Northern and Merseyrail management to escalate strikebreaking plans and impose regimes of intimidation.

“The glamour of the job is just a mask”

British Airways crew members defy strikebreaking operation

By Ross Mitchell, 7 July 2017

Prior to the strike, the union drafted up a "final compromise position" behind the backs of its members, which has not been made public.

Historic strike vote by Bank of England staff; Kenyan doctors’ union signs agreement to end dispute

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

7 July 2017

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

The importance of the VW Strike in Slovakia

By Ulrich Rippert, 1 July 2017

Auto workers at the Volkswagen plant in Bratislava, Slovakia resumed work at the beginning of this week. Eight thousand of the 12,300 workers at the plant had struck for six days and paralyzed production.

Manchester Metropolitan University staff oppose site closure, redundancies

By Margot Miller, 1 July 2017

University bosses plan to shut the Crewe campus, threatening 370 jobs, on the grounds that it is “no longer academically or financially sustainable.”

Support the strike by VW workers in Slovakia!

By Ulrich Rippert chairman of the SGP and SGP candidate in North Rhine Westphalia, 26 June 2017

The 8,000 striking Volkswagen workers in Slovakia deserve the support of VW and all autoworkers throughout Germany and the world.

UK: Sheffield Jobcentre workers continue fight against job losses and relocation

By Danny Richardson, 24 June 2017

The dispute centres on a national plan to close more than 1 in 10 Jobcentres around the UK, with the loss of up to 750 jobs.

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

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

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

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