News ID: 113588
Publish Date : 02 April 2023 - 22:09

Europe a Hive of Strike Action, Protests

PARIS (Dispatches) -- Many employees in Europe are unhappy that sky-high inflation has not been matched by higher wages.
Walkouts are planned all over Europe, showing that it always pay to check before you travel.
Some of Spain’s busiest airports are facing strikes by unionized workers at ground services and cargo handling company Swissport between now and Easter.
From February 27 to April 13, they have called for a series of 24-hour walkouts every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
Easyjet cabin crew in Portugal has gone on a three-day strike to demand higher wages to compensate for the soaring cost of living.
The walkout is affecting flights to and from Portugal from April 1 to April 3.
German public sector works have entered an arbitration period after inconclusive talks over pay. It means that strikes which have hit the transport sector in recent weeks are effectively suspended until after the busy Easter holiday period.
This week a “megastrike” caused widespread travel chaos. Two of the country’s biggest transport unions, representing a majority of transport workers, called for industrial action. It brought railways and airports to a standstill and was Germany’s biggest walkout in more than three decades.
Unions across France have been in an ongoing battle against an increase in the legal retirement age from 62 to 64.
Protests have broken out across the country after President Emmanuel Macron decided to push the change without a parliamentary vote. Rubbish has built up in Paris and was set on fire. Protesters have also clashed with police in the French capital.
The French civil aviation authority, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has asked airlines across the country to cancel flights on Saturday and Sunday as air traffic controllers went on strike over the pension reform.
Around 20 percent of flights operating out of Toulouse and Bordeaux airports did not run on Saturday. On Sunday, 25 percent of flights at Paris-Orly and 20 percent of flights at Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes were cancelled.
Unions have also called for an 11th day of protest action across several sectors - including transport - on Thursday.
About 1,400 security guards at London’s Heathrow Airport are going on strike over the Easter holidays.
The guards who work in Terminal 5, the main portal for British Airways and where many international flights depart and arrive, have been walking out for 10 days from March 31 until April 9.
On the first day of the strike, British Airways cancelled 72 flights affecting an estimated 10,000 passengers. More than 300 could be cancelled during the 10 days of action.
They are striking over low pay, after rejecting the airport’s offer of a 10 percent pay increase. Unite union secretary general Sharon Graham says Heathrow workers are on “poverty wages while the chief executive and senior managers enjoy huge salaries.”
British Airways have announced they will be cancelling 32 flights a day during the disruption, totaling more than 300 flights.
More than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) working in Passport offices in England, Scotland and Wales are to walk out from April 3 until May 5.
The strike will involve those working in Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport, Peterborough and Southport.
Passport workers are set to walk out on April 28, in the latest round of industrial action.
Meanwhile, for months now, Europeans have been holding rallies to reject the North Atlantic Organization (NATO) and its involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. On most occasions, however, the mainstream media are silent about the prevailing discontent.
On March 18, the demonstration in Paris, dubbed the “March for Peace,” began near the site of the Senate. Citizens held banners reading: “Stop the war provoked by the United States and NATO,” “Freedom, Truth, Resistance” and “The vote of no confidence is peace in France.”
Similar protests have recently taken place in several other European countries. In Berlin, around 10,000 demonstrators gathered on Feb. 25 against the supply of arms to Ukraine. “Not our war,” read a banner at the rally. The protesters were distributing leaflets calling for an immediate pullout of Germany from NATO.
On the same day in London, about 4,000 people joined a march demanding an end to the shipment of additional weapons to Kiev. “NO to NATO expansion,” read the placards. “The United States is manipulating the world for its own interests,” said Talia, a protester.
In recent years, opposition to and mistrust against NATO have intensified in Europe, sparking criticism from European politicians
and academics, and triggering more anti-NATO protests. European politicians who raised doubts about the bloc condone the protests.
This position is also increasingly evident in European public opinion. In an analysis titled “NATO as seen by French presidential candidates”, the Montaigne Institute said that French public support for NATO has declined in recent years.
The attempt to expand the alliance to include Ukraine is at the root of the current Ukraine crisis, said Pierre Conesa, a former senior official in the French Defense Ministry.
For Antonio Ingroia, one of the founders of the Sovereign and Popular Italy party, “the majority of Italians do not want this war, do not want to be a colony of the United States and NATO.”