November 23 (Reuters) – European countries face strikes and protests amid higher energy prices and rising costs of living. Here are the details of some recent and current industrial action and demonstrations.
* The RMT union said on November 22 that it will stage further strikes in the next two months amid a long-running dispute over wages for thousands of British rail workers, signaling travel cuts before and after the Christmas holiday period.
* The union GMB said on November 22 that hundreds of workers at the British security company G4S had decided to go on a 48-hour strike in early December over wage disputes, warning that the strike could lead to cash shortages over the Christmas period.
* Exxon Mobil said on November 21 that the 390,000 barrels per day (bpd) Fawley oil refinery in the south of England was not affected by the strike action. GMB Union workers decided to go on strike over wages between November 21 and December 2.
* The Public and Business Services union said on November 18, following the largest strike vote in its history, that thousands of British civil servants are planning a month of “continuous industrial action” over the winter amid an ongoing wage dispute.
* Postal workers at Royal Mail will go on strike for six days as the busy Christmas season approaches over a dispute over pay and conditions. Workers will go on strike on Black Friday.
* Tesco (TSCO.L), one of the UK’s largest private sector employers, is offering its staff a salary advance in the latest sign of distress from a worsening cost of living crisis. The supermarket chain’s approximately 280,000 employees will be able to receive up to 25% of their contractual wages early if they pay a small fee.
* Outsourcing firm Mitie(MTO.L) has offered its low-paid employees a support package totaling £10m ($12m), including one-off bonuses, retail discounts and options to borrow money for future pay.
* Union Unite will hit the Christmas food supply to Sainsbury, Tesco and Marks and Spencer supermarkets, the union says, with more than 700 workers at Bakkavor’s food production plant in Lincolnshire going on strike for their wages from late November to the new year.
* Salary awards by British employers were kept at a 30-year high of 4% in the three months to October, well below annual inflation of over 11%, according to data from human resources firm XpertHR.
* Volkswagen(VOWG_p.DE) signed a two-year wage agreement for approximately 125,000 workers at its factories in western Germany on November 23, offering approximately 8.5% more wages; this is below inflation, but above what other employers have achieved in recent weeks.
* On November 18, Germany’s largest union agreed on a below-inflation wage deal in a strong region that sets the benchmark for 3.9 million metals and electrical workers nationwide.
The deal, which came after the IG Metall union called for an 8% wage increase, would have been considered generous until recently, but is now below the 11.6% inflation rate in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, last month.
* The Verdi union said on 18 November it reached a wage agreement with the energy company RWE, which includes a one-time payment of 3,000 euros for its approximately 18,000 employees and a minimum 6% increase in salaries from 1 February.
* The German flagship airline said that Lufthansa and the UFO union have reached an agreement to increase the salaries of 19,000 cabin crew members.
* The human resources director of German automaker Audi said he favors offering his employees one-time tax-free payments instead of permanent pay increases.
* BP (BP.L) said on November 22 that the planned restart after its major Rotterdam refinery was shut down due to a technical problem was suspended after unions said they would not help it return to service due to salary. conflict.
* UNAC and SNGAF unions said they called for a strike due to working conditions at Air France (AIRF.PA) during the Christmas holidays between 22 December and 2 January.
* About 45% of France’s oil refining capacity went offline on November 2 following last month’s strike action, but supply was expected to improve; one major refinery is back in operation and another will be back at full capacity by the end of the week.
* In France, EDF (EDF.PA) announced on October 27 that it had formally signed a wage agreement with all unions in the company for its workers in the country.
* Thousands of Spaniards filled Madrid’s landmark Plaza Mayor square on November 3 to demand higher wages in the country’s first mass protest since the start of the cost of living crisis.
* The USO union said workers of Azul Handling, the ground handling company that serves Ryanair (RYA.I) at 22 Spanish airports, canceled plans to hold several 24-hour strikes between October 28 and January 8 to demand better working conditions. on October 28.
* A group representing some truck drivers in Spain said on November 15 that they suspended the strike indefinitely a day after it began, alleging that its members were subjected to a “relentless campaign of harassment” by some authorities, rival unions and media outlets.
Hundreds of truck drivers affiliated with the unofficial Transport Defense Platform, which brought Spain to a halt earlier this year, began a new strike on November 14, demanding changes to road transport rules and protesting the cost of living.
* A union group representing shop assistants at fashion retailer Zara called for a two-day pay strike during “Black Friday” sales on November 24 and 25 at the company’s stores in northern Spain’s hometown of A Coruna.
The regional union group CIG, which is also planning protests near Zara’s owner Inditex’s headquarters in Arteixo, is seeking an increase of 500 euros a month by 2025.
* Thousands of doctors, nurses, teachers and civil servants in Portugal left work on November 18 to demand wage increases amid widespread inflation, defying the majority Socialist government a week before the final vote on the 2023 budget.
* Workers at the Autoeuropa car factory of Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), one of Portugal’s largest exporters, will go on strike for the first two hours of each of the four shifts on November 17 and 18 to demand an extraordinary salary increase amid skyrocketing inflation.
Austrian metalworkers achieved an annual wage increase of more than 7% on average on 4 November, above the 6.3% inflation rate during the negotiation period. The negotiations are seen as a precursor to other sectors in Austria, which have a strong tradition of collective bargaining and annual negotiated wage increases that generally prevent the threat of strikes.
Compiled by Toby Chopra and Catherine Evans.
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