Chicago Indymedia :
Chicago Indymedia

News :: [none]

European workers' shut down skies, schools and fire stations

Europe was hit with a wave of workers' protests as air traffic controllers froze travel in France, British teachers and municipal workers joined striking firefighters and more than 20,000 people marched in Rome to support metalworkers' demands.
The skies over France, normally streaked with activity, were empty as the two unions representing air traffic controllers walked off the job, forcing the cancellation of nearly 90 percent of all flights in France.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair's government, meanwhile, struggled with the worst labor dispute in years as a firefighters' strike entered a fifth day and thousands of London's teachers and municipal workers nationwide went on strike.

Italy, fresh from tough talks between three leading unions and the ailing industrial giant Fiat on a controversial restructuring plan, saw at least 20,000 people turn out in Rome to back Fiat Auto's metalworkers.

In France, where industrial action was the broadest, the civil aviation authority DGAC said that of 4,300 planned flights, only 500 were sure to go ahead as a result of the strike, which was set to last till 6:30 am (0530 GMT) Wednesday.

Rail and bus services also slowed across France, as thousands of state employees were due to gather in Paris to defend pension rights, pay and job sercurity and to fight the center-right government's privatization plans.

The action came as a strike by truck drivers in pursuit of a pay-claim appeared to be petering out, though two unions said they had not abandoned their campaign and a few scattered roadblocks were set up in France Tuesday.

In London, British government officials were holding talks on a pay deal that would send the 52,000 firefighters back to their brigades before the holiday season.

Six people have died in weekend blazes, as the ill-equipped military squads scrambled to respond to hundreds of fire alarms and car accidents throughout Britain.

Blair has refused to bow to the firefighters' strike, calling their demand for a 16-percent pay hike "unreasonable" and saying they should return to the negotiating table and offer to modernize their service if they want more than a four percent wage increase.

Thousands primary- and secondary-school teachers in London, also seeking a wage hike, walked off the job on Tuesday. Thousands of schools may be shut in the area if they are understaffed.

Thousands more from local government jobs were due to follow suit with a one-day protest.

In Rome, marchers waving union banners filed through the streets to protest the plan to shed 8,100 jobs at the auto giant Fiat -- most through a series of one-year state-sponsored layoffs.

Disgruntled French workers are due to follow Rome's lead, with up to 100,000 people expected to join a march through Paris led by railway workers later Tuesday.



Account Login

Media Centers


This site made manifest by dadaIMC software