Workers in Greece and Belgium walked off the job this week as protests raged across Europe against rising costs of living fueled by inflation in what some have called a “winter of discontent.”
Workers in Greece staged a 24-hour general strike this week as thousands of protesters marched through Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki, sparking brief clashes with small groups of protesters who broke away from the main group and hurled Molotov cocktails and stones at police who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.
The strike disrupted services across the country, with ferries moored at the port, cutting connections to Greece’s islands, state schools closed, public hospitals running with reduced staff and most public transport paralysed.
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A similar scene played out in Belgium, as traffic jams were reported across the country after workers picketed supermarkets and shopping malls to protest runaway inflation and spikes in energy bills due in part to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
More than 100,000 government workers could walk off the job this winter in the UK to protest cost of living rises, according to the sunand Reuters reported that conductors working for 12 British train operators have announced they will strike on November 26.
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Striking metro workers shut down half of the Paris metro lines on Thursday, a national day of strikes and protests over french train drivers, teachers and other public sector workers demanding that the government and employers raise wages to keep up with inflation.
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of France last month in a strike calling for wage increases to keep up with inflation that had hit 6.2%.
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Scotland’s main teachers’ union said on Thursday it had won an “overwhelming mandate” to go on strike along with a major railway and postal workers’ union, which are also threatening to go on strike this winter, the Financial Times reported.
Workers in Spain are also rejecting cost-of-living increases, as truckers called an indefinite strike next Monday, News24 reported.
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Thousands of Bulgarians took to the streets on Friday in a demonstration organized by the country’s two largest unions to protest against inflation and demand higher wages this winter to offset the rising cost of living.
Inflation reached a new high in October in the 19 countries that use the euro. Economic growth has also slowed ahead of what economists fear is an impending recession, largely as a result of higher prices sapping Europeans’ spending power.
Associated Press contributed to this report.