Factbox-Strikes, Protests in Europe Over Cost of Living and Pay

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European countries are facing strikes and protests due to high energy prices and mounting costs of living. Here are details of some industrial actions and demonstrations.

Britain’s Royal Mail on Nov. 1 said members of its largest labour union, the Communication Workers Union (CWU), will conduct two 48-hour strikes in late November and early December, in the run-up to Christmas.

A British workers’ union said on Wednesday it had secured a 10% pay increase for more than 900 bus workers in East London from bus operator Stagecoach Group amid a surge in cost of living.

A British workers union said on Tuesday it had secured a 12.5% pay deal for 1,000 beer delivery drivers from logistics company GXO, cancelling strikes that were planned in the run-up to the soccer World Cup finals.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was challenged by an elderly patient at a London hospital on Oct. 28 who told him it was “a pity” the government did not pay nurses more and he must “try harder”. The largest nursing union has begun voting on taking strike action in a dispute over pay which is lagging soaring inflation, the biggest ballot in its 106-year history.

FRANCE

Around 45% of France’s oil refining capacity remains offline following strike action last month, but supply is set to improve as one major refinery is back on stream while another is due to return to full capacity by the end of the week.

The restart of Exxon Mobil’s 140,000-barrel per day (bpd) Fos-Sur-Mer oil refinery in France should be completed by the end of the week, a company spokesperson told Reuters, after a weeks-long strike ended in mid-October.

France’s EDF has formally signed a wage agreement for its workers in the country with all unions present at the company, it said on Oct. 27.

GERMANY

Unions across Europe’s biggest economy are demanding higher wages in light of rising inflation.

German trade union IG Metal Kueste said it had called on several thousand workers to strike on Tuesday at 15 sites, including Airbus in Hamburg.

Lufthansa and the UFO union have reached an agreement to increase the salaries of 19,000 cabin crew members, the German flagship airline said on Tuesday.

German carmaker Audi is in favour of offering employees one-off tax-free payments instead of permanent wage increases, its human resources director said.

SPAIN

Workers at Azul Handling, the ground handling company servicing Ryanair in 22 Spanish airports, called off a plan to hold several 24-hour strikes between Oct. 28 and Jan. 8 to demand better working conditions, union USO said on Oct. 28.

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