European Workers Issues

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.

No to driver only operated services at West Midland Trains! For a national mobilisation of rail workers

By Michael Barnes, 24 November 2018

Drivers at West Midlands Trains are resisting a coordinated effort by the private train operator Abellio and rail unions to impose Driver Only trains in 2020.

Scottish teachers overwhelmingly reject pay offer

By our reporter, 23 November 2018

The Scottish government, local authorities, teaching and local government unions are desperate to avoid strikes, and above all to prevent a united offensive by teachers and council workers.

“Macron is the president of the rich”: “Yellow Vest” protesters speak out

By our reporters, 20 November 2018

Participants in the “Yellow Vest” protests across France, which continued yesterday in a number of regions, talked to the WSWS about why they are demonstrating.

France shaken by mass protests

By Alex Lantier, 19 November 2018

There were cries of “Macron resign” from protesters holding signs saying “No to the president of the rich.”

French “Yellow Vest” protesters prepare road blockades against fuel tax hike

By Anthony Torres, 16 November 2018

Fear is growing in official circles that tomorrow’s nationwide road blockades could develop into an explosion of mass social anger against French President Macron.

French teachers mobilize against Macron’s attacks on education

By Anthony Torres, 15 November 2018

Monday’s strike was the first day of action called by the education unions since 2011.

“It’s about safety but the train operating companies want to save money”

UK rail worker speaks to the WSWS about dispute over Driver Only Operated trains

By our reporter, 13 November 2018

Rail workers in the UK have been fighting for over two years against the plans by the private rail franchises to introduce Driver Only Operated (DOO) trains.

Tube workers’ strike brings much of London to a halt

By Peter Austin, 9 November 2018

The tube strikes express the anger of workers after a decade of budget cuts, reductions in real wages, longer work weeks and an increase in working weekends as agreed by the unions.

Nigerian unions call off general strike over minimum wage

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

9 November 2018

Nigeria’s three main labour federations called off a general strike set for November 6 and announced that they had reached an undisclosed settlement with the government over a rise in the country’s minimum wage.

Growing strikes in South Africa; more UK rail strikes

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

26 October 2018

Workers in South Africa’s plastics industry are continuing their strike after an attempt by employers to ban the walkout was temporarily defeated.

Swiss building workers strike in Ticino and Geneva

By Marianne Arens, 24 October 2018

The Swiss unions are organising toothless protests and limited strikes aimed at dissipating the militancy of workers.

Thousands of workers in Glasgow plan strike for equal pay

By Steve James, 23 October 2018

Eight thousand poorly-paid, mostly women workers are due to strike October 23 and 24 in a long-running dispute with Glasgow City Council and its care services agency.

“McStrike”: UK unions police anger of young workers

By Alice Summers and Robert Stevens, 20 October 2018

Behind talk of a coordinated struggle, the demand of service workers for better pay and conditions is being misled by the trade unions.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

South African plastics workers in national strike; Capetown transport workers wildcat

19 October 2018

Some 10,000 plastics workers in South Africa are on strike seeking the revocation of a pay reduction while bus drivers in Capetown walked out Monday demanding improvements in wages and working conditions.

Bonus removal cancels out Amazon’s UK pay rise

By Alice Summers, 13 October 2018

Workers are effectively paying for their own wage increase through the slashing of employee benefits, share and incentive schemes, with some possibly seeing a net loss.

Britain’s pseudo-left oppose worker rebellion against Royal College of Nurses leadership

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 11 October 2018

The no-confidence motion against the executive of the Royal College of Nurses is only one example of growing opposition to the decades of betrayals by the trade union bureaucracy.

Turkish government steps up attack on jailed airport construction workers

By our reporter, 10 October 2018

The arrests and the police-state methods of the Turkish government are an attack on workers not only in Turkey, but internationally.

Build rank-and-file committees to unify struggles against austerity in France!

By the Socialist Equality Party (France), 9 October 2018

Workers face the choice between President Emmanuel Macron’s social counterrevolution and a revolutionary struggle to bring down the Macron government.

The destruction of Germany’s Thyssenkrupp and the role of the IG Metall union

By Dietmar Henning, 6 October 2018

The decision to break up the Thyssenkrupp multinational conglomerate, in which the IG Metall union has played a key role, has been secretly prepared for months.

UK: No to Driver Only Trains in any form, mobilise against rail union sellout

By Michael Barnes, 6 October 2018

The struggle by rail workers in defense of jobs is in danger, due to the systematic sabotage of their fight by the unions.

UK nurses vote to remove Royal College of Nursing leadership after pay deal sellout

By Ajanta Silva, 3 October 2018

There is growing opposition among nurses and health care workers to a deal that includes an effective cut in real wages following years of attacks on wages and conditions.

Protest march on October 2 in the Netherlands

The fight against public sector cutbacks requires a socialist perspective

By the European Editorial Board of the WSWS, 2 October 2018

The World Socialist Web Site supports today's march in The Hague, in which thousands employed in the public sector, health and above all education will participate.

Airline workers launch largest strike in Ryanair’s history

By Gustav Kemper, 28 September 2018

The decision by the German unions to call a strike late on Thursday makes today's strikes in five European countries the largest in the budget airline's history.

Vote “yes” on resolution to force out Royal College of Nursing leadership! Build rank-and-file committees!

By NHS FightBack, 28 September 2018

The resolution gives voice to the growing rebellion among nurses and health workers against the RCN executive’s collusion with the Conservative government.

Over 1,000 Ryanair cabin crew and pilots strike in Germany

By our reporters, 13 September 2018

While the workers are fighting for wage increases and better working conditions, the trade unions want to cut a deal with Ryanair as quickly as possible.

In new cost-cutting move, PSA subcontracts Opel operation in Germany

By Marianne Arens, 13 September 2018

The subcontracting of research and development operations in Rüsselsheim is another significant step towards the dismantling of Opel.

Trades Union Congress in Britain silent on anti-Corbyn coup plot

By Robert Stevens, 12 September 2018

The TUC crowed that this year’s congress marked the 150th anniversary of its founding, but not one platform speaker even referred to the attack on the leader of the Labour party established by the unions.

Britain: No-confidence motions passed against leading Blairite MPs

By Paul Mitchell, 8 September 2018

The Blairites have no compunction about defying Labour members and will only go if they are forced out.

Vehicle crashes claim lives of 16 migrant workers in Italy

By Allison Smith, 17 August 2018

The deadly vehicle crashes—caused by sheer greed for profit at the expense of the labourers—are linked to the extremely right-wing course of the government in Rome.

UK National Health Service pay deal fuels growing rebellion against unions

By Ajanta Silva, 13 August 2018

More than 1,000 health workers signed a petition calling for the current leadership of the Royal College of Nursing to stand down.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

Railworkers strike in UK while Iranian rail strike continues

10 August 2018

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

Ryanair faces largest pilots’ strike in its history

By Marianne Arens, 9 August 2018

On Friday, simultaneous strikes against Ryanair will take place in several European countries. While workers’ anger has grown, the unions are doing everything to isolate the strike.

The Ryanair strike and the resurgence of international class struggle

By Robert Stevens, 8 August 2018

The class struggle is reaching a higher stage of development, posing strategic issues before every section of the international working class.

NHS trade unions’ “best deal in eight years” revealed as a fraud

By Ajanta Silva, 4 August 2018

Health workers are expressing outrage as the truth about the latest union sellout comes to light.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

4 August 2018

Some 10,000 footwear workers in south Africa are in the third week of a bitter strike over wage demands.

Ryanair’s mass sacking threat raises need for globally coordinated struggle of airline workers

By Steve James, 2 August 2018

The role of the unions in the airline and other industries is to isolate any struggle, impose the demands of the companies and prevent a unified fight of the entire working class.

German Ryanair pilots ready to strike

By Marianne Arens, 1 August 2018

Every Ryanair pilot who voted cast his or her ballot for strike action, but the Cockpit trade union is seeking to collaborate with management.

UK: South Western Railway conductors to strike over Driver Only Operation

By Tom Holling, 26 July 2018

South Western Railway is Britain’s busiest commuter train network and transports more than 4 million passengers a week in and out of London Waterloo.

French presidential scandal: Mélenchon defends the riot police

By Francis Dubois and Alex Lantier, 24 July 2018

Mélenchon was careful not to appeal to anger among workers and youth at the arbitrary police violence captured in a viral video of a presidential aide assaulting protesters.

Sheffield Supertram workers hold 72-hour strike, as strike ballot in Manchester begins

By Laura Tiernan, 23 July 2018

A fight is only possible if workers break free from the grip of the Unite union, whose strategy consists of dividing workers on a company by company basis.

Sheffield residents voice strong support for Supertram workers’ strike

By our reporters, 23 July 2018

On Saturday, campaigners from the Socialist Equality Party distributed a statement in support of the Sheffield Stagecoach Supertram workers, revealing strong support among workers, young people and pensioners for the strike.

Strike by South African footwear workers as South African and Nigerian telecom workers walkout

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

21 July 2018

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

Auto parts workers strike in Germany

IG Metall accepts mass redundancies and plant closures

By Marianne Arens, 18 July 2018

The IG Metall union has long since abandoned the factory in Leipzig.

As Jeff Bezos’ wealth reaches $150 billion

Unions strangle strike efforts by European Amazon workers on Prime Day

By Will Morrow and Genevieve Leigh, 17 July 2018

Prime Day is treated as a virtual public holiday by the corporate media, akin to Black Friday, but it is synonymous with increased exploitation for Amazon and other shipping workers.

French auto giant PSA announces new cuts at Opel

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 7 July 2018

The PSA board intends to sell off large parts of the International Technical Development Centre (ITEZ) in Rüsselsheim, threatening the jobs of thousands of technicians, engineers and developers

Austria: 100,000 demonstrate in Vienna against labour “reforms”

By Markus Salzmann, 5 July 2018

Last Saturday saw the biggest demonstration in the Austrian capital since the 2003 protests against pension reforms.

Europe’s unions pledge unity with big business as trade war escalates

By Robert Stevens, 30 June 2018

While framed around Brexit, the underlying impulse of the joint statement between the union federations and business groups is the developing trade war between the United States and the European Union.

The British UCU Congress and the impossibility of reforming the trade unions

By the Socialist Equality Party (UK), 26 June 2018

Events at the University and College Union prove that the union bureaucracy is unanswerable for its actions and unaccountable to its members.

Rolls-Royce to shed nearly 5,000 jobs in the UK

By Barry Mason, 21 June 2018

Instead of a campaign to mobilise its 22,000 members employed by Rolls-Royce to fight the cuts, Unite will facilitate whatever restructuring the company demands.

Thousands of jobs to go as UK retail chains rationalise operations

By Barry Mason, 13 June 2018

The latest threats to retail jobs come on top of mounting closures and retrenchments in the retail and food industry.

Germany: IG Metall union and works councils agree to job and wage cuts at Opel

By Dietmar Henning, 2 June 2018

The union and works councils have signed up to almost every demand of PSA boss Carlos Tavares and Opel chief Michael Lohscheller.

As French airport workers and Iranian lorry drivers strike, class struggle spreads in Africa

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

1 June 2018

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

General strike in Greece against Syriza’s latest austerity package

By Robert Stevens, 31 May 2018

The stoppage, nearly the 50th general strike since 2010, saw transport and services in Greece grind to a halt.

Over 10,000 jobs at risk at Deutsche Bank

By Gustav Kemper, 31 May 2018

Germany’s crisis-ridden Deutsche Bank has already slashed 6,000 jobs and closed 188 branches in the past few years.

French rail workers demonstrate after voting against Macron’s privatization

By Alex Lantier, 28 May 2018

A class gulf separates growing working class militancy from the unions’ attempts to negotiate a deal with President Macron’s anti-worker government.

“Human Wave” rallies protest austerity in France

By our reporters, 28 May 2018

The protests took place in nearly 200 cities, according to protest organizers, with 250,000 people participating across France.

Trade unions in lock step with the German government

By Ulrich Rippert, 16 May 2018

The unions act as company police, intimidating workers and developing their own rationalization plans.

French students blockade universities in struggle against selective admissions

By Guillaume Garnier, 15 May 2018

After the March 22 protest of rail and public workers against the privatisation of railways, students launched a movement to blockade universities across France.

The referendum at SNCF: The unions seek to strangle French rail strike

By Alex Lantier, 12 May 2018

The referendum on Macron’s reforms being prepared by the unions for May 14-21 represents a dead-end for railway workers.

Defying the trade unions, Air France workers vote to reject contract

By Alex Lantier, 8 May 2018

Workers defied not only threats from Air France and the government, but also from the union bureaucrats, who demanded that they approve the contract.

French rail workers, teachers protest Macron’s social cuts

By Anthony Torres, 5 May 2018

Rail workers and high school teachers on strike Thursday spoke out against the social cuts and military spending proposed by President Emmanuel Macron.

Germany: IG Metall union sabotages workers’ struggle to defend jobs

By Ulrich Rippert, 27 April 2018

Opel auto workers in Germany are confronting corporate management’s demand for massive cuts in jobs and wages combined with a drastic deterioration of working conditions.

French students, workers march in April 19 protests against Macron

By Anthony Torres, 21 April 2018

The first protest of strikers from multiple professions since November 2017 took place amid spreading blockades of universities by students opposed to Macron.

German public service union closes ranks with the government

By Marianne Arens and Christoph Vandreier, 20 April 2018

The contract deal presented by unions and employers’ associations on Wednesday after a third round of negotiations is a slap in the face to Germany’s 2.3 million public service workers.

University and College Union sells out UK lecturers strike

By Robert Stevens, 18 April 2018

It was to demobilise opposition to its rotten deal with the employers that the UCU cut the number of universities due to walk out this week, before suspending strike action altogether

“Berlin is Burning”: Berlin firefighters’ campaign of resistance raises political issues

By the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei, 18 April 2018

The protests by Berlin firefighters are part of a growing international mobilisation involving teachers, railroad and other workers.

Anti-academy schools protests in UK curtailed by trade unions

By Tom Pearce, 17 April 2018

Any strikes called by the teaching unions, as a way of maintaining control over the anger of staff at the consequences of becoming academies, are being confined to a few single schools.

German public service strikers fear sell-out

By Marianne Arens, 13 April 2018

Public sector workers are demanding real change. However, many fear a sell-out by their union, Verdi.

Strikes in Germany’s public sector as anger mounts over wages and working conditions

By our reporters, 12 April 2018

Amidst a broad mobilization of worker throughout Europe, the unions are doing everything in their power to suppress this anger and prevent a genuine struggle.

Students protest against Macron as strikes against austerity mount in France

By Johannes Stern and Alex Lantier, 11 April 2018

All over the country, students are occupying campuses and holding general assemblies and demonstrations.

Strikes mount as National Assembly opens debate on French rail privatization

By Alex Lantier, 10 April 2018

Air France workers are taking strike action today over wage demands, after rail workers mounted a fourth day of rotating strikes yesterday.

As the unions continue talks with the government

French rail workers, students resume strike action against Macron

By Kumaran Ira, 9 April 2018

The trade unions are coordinating with the Macron government to contain the rail workers’ strike movement against the planned privatisation of the French National Railways.

UK: Metropolitan Police admit role in construction blacklist

By Paul Bond, 7 April 2018

As police admitted involvement in the blacklisting of building workers, around 60 campaigners and victims walked out of the Undercover Policing Public Inquiry, angered over a continuing cover-up.

Teachers across the UK vote for industrial action

By Thomas Scripps, 4 April 2018

Representing the vast majority of teachers in the UK, the votes are a response to the catastrophic conditions prevailing in primary and secondary schools across the country.

Germany: Public service trade union announces extension of protest strikes

By Ulrich Rippert, 4 April 2018

Verdi is responding to growing anger and militancy among public employees, who refuse to accept staff reductions and increased workloads while their wages stagnate or decline.

Vote “No” to University and College Union sellout of UK lecturers pension strike

By Robert Stevens, 29 March 2018

The University and College Union’s Higher Education Committee voted to put an inferior pensions’ offer from Universities UK to a ballot, in the face of lecturer’s opposition.