Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa – Auto Republish

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Civil servants’ union attempts to seize control of wildcat strikes at Romanian Ministry of Finance

Wildcat strikes by civil servants in Romania against austerity are continuing. The Federation of Trade Unions from the Fiscal Administration ‘Solidarity’, representing civil servants in the Romanian Ministry of Finance, called a two-hour warning strike with an hour-long picket on Tuesday, in an attempt to take control of the wildcat strikes which broke out last week.

In response, more protests were organised by ministry employees on Thursday, outside the control of the unions, against the government’s plans for austerity which will lead to job losses and pay cuts.

As many as 15,000 took part in last week’s walkouts. The union president cautiously suggested that the union itself “will probably move towards” calling an all-out strike. However, it was clear they intended this to be more restricted than the wildcat strikes already occurring since he added “it is long-term, you have to sort out some procedures, we have to see if the Government is willing to talk with us and resolve the demands or not.”

Turkish civil servants strike against below-inflation pay offer

Civil servants throughout Turkey joined a strike on August 18 called by the Confederation of Public Employees Trade Union (KESK), which has 163,000 members, against a below-inflation pay offer, Duvar reported.

While official inflation last month was 48 percent and has been much higher throughout most of the year, the government offered only a 14 percent pay rise in the first half of 2024 and nine percent in the second half, and two instalments of six and five percent in 2025. The KESK pointed out that the government’s own inflation forecast for those years was higher than the pay offer.

The Memur-Sen union, which represents around a million of the 2.1 million unionised civil servants according to Duvar, also rejected the offer, but did not call strikes. The Kamu-Sen union, with around half a million members, accused the government of calling meetings where “hundreds of vital issues are not even brought to the agenda” and refused to attend the latest negotiations, Evrensel reported.

Construction workers near Istanbul, Turkey, strike over “insulting” pay rise

Construction workers employed on the new line of the Istanbul Metro in Turkey linking a city-centre station to the airport began a stoppage last week against a pay rise which they described as “like insults and blasphemy,” according to Haberler. The pay rise in July reportedly averaged 26 percent, less than the 30 percent increase in the minimum wage, and far below the official inflation rate of 48 percent.

The statement announcing the strike demanded a 75 percent pay rise for all workers and warned “in the event that even one staff member is dismissed, our justified work stoppage will continue.”

Service workers in Portuguese hospitals hold “one of the largest ever” strikes over collective bargaining

Workers at the Common Use Service of Hospitals (SUCH), a private non-profit organisation in Portugal, which provides food, laundry and other services to hospitals, held a one-day strike on Monday with widespread participation.

According to the Union of Workers of the Hotel Industry, Tourism, Restaurants and Similar, around 80 percent of the 3,250 employees of SUCH joined the strike, demanding improvements in wages and working conditions, staffing levels and hazard pay.

Lusa reported that at a meeting of union members in Coimbra, workers passed a motion opposing the “brutal increase in the cost of living,” and pointing out that they were excluded from an increase in salaries and meal subsidies for workers directly employed by the state.

Week-long strike at Portuguese EDP electricity company

Last week, workers at the Portuguese electricity company EDP held a six-day strike over pay, with protests in Lisbon on the August 16, The Portugal News reported. Workers at EDP call centres also walked out for three days as part of the campaign called by the Fiequimetal union.

Teachers strike at start of the school year in French department of Mayotte

On Wednesday, the start of the school year in the French overseas department of Mayotte, teachers joined a one-day strike called by the National Union of Secondary Education (SNES) against the conditions of work and lack of resources for schools.

Mayotte, an island near Madagascar, is the poorest of France’s regions, and most people live below the poverty line. Strikers demanded additional schools and teachers, as the number of pupils has been increasing, and that all schools in Mayotte be classified as “REP+”, a designation for the most deprived areas which would give schools access to additional funding. They also said more resources were needed to teach French, which is the only official language but is spoken by most people in Mayotte only as a second language.

Gig economy couriers hold warning strike for collective agreement in Berlin, Germany

Gig economy delivery workers at Lieferando, the German subsidiary of the Just Eat Group, held a warning strike in Berlin on August 17 to demand a collective agreement, which Lieferando currently does not have.

The stoppage was called by the Food, Enjoyment and Restaurants Union (NGG), which called for a 15 euro guaranteed wage, as drivers are currently paid the minimum wage of 12 euros per hour plus performance bonuses, taz reported.

The NGG claims it is preparing to call an indefinite strike if the company does not negotiate an agreement.

Miners strike over unpaid wages in Stari Trg, Kosovo

Around 150 miners in the lead and zinc mine in Stari Trg, Kosovo, have been on strike since August 17 to demand their wages for June are paid. The mine in Stari Trg is operated by the state owned Trepča Mines company and is Europe’s largest lead-zinc mine.

The president of the union at Trepča told 021 the strike would continue until miners received their June pay, and also demanded better ventilation in the mine and that debts owed to the pension fund are paid. An executive from Trepča claimed initially that wages were paid on the 17th, but the strike continued.

Utilities workers hold warning strike in Podgorica, Montenegro

Workers at utilities companies in Podgorica held a work stoppage and protest in the Montenegrin capital on August 18.

According to RTCG, the Union of Housing and Communal Industry said they had reached a new collective agreement containing pay increases with the Ministry of Ecology and Spatial Planning, but the Department of Finance refused to release the funds.

The union said that if the government did not respond to their demands by September 15, they would call a national all-out strike.

Spanish unions call off strikes at Sóller Train in Mallorca over “legal complexity”

The Spanish trade unions in the strike committee at Sóller Train, an historic railway line and popular tourist attraction on the island of Mallorca, announced on Wednesday they would call off strikes planned for next week. They used the excuse of the “legal complexity” of their situation.

According to Ultima Hora, the company which operates the train line claims it cannot negotiate any collective agreement since a group of workers is making a separate demand.

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Resident-led action group seeking redress from the long-term social, health and environmental impacts from the Mossmorran facilities in Central Fife operated by ExxonMobil (Fife Ethylene Plant) and Shell (Fife NGL).


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