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Europe paralyzed by strikes: planes do not fly and trains do not go

Strike fever swept other countries of Old Europe.

Strike fever swept other countries of Old Europe.

A photo: REUTERS

On July 27, at the height of the summer holidays, air travelers were faced with an unpleasant surprise: the German giant Lufthansa canceled about a thousand flights, the work of its main bases – Frankfurt am Main and Munich airports – was paralyzed. Given that these are popular transfer points for flights from Europe to Africa, for example, many passengers are simply stuck in transit zones with no hope of continuing the route anytime soon.

The reason is the mass strike of the Lufthansa workers’ union. Twenty thousand “heavenly proletarians” demand that the concern raise wages by at least 9.5%, or 350 euros per month. Why such a number? Because inflation in Germany in June – including due to the suicidal rejection of cheap energy carriers from Russia due to the sanctions war – amounted to 8.2%. And will probably continue to grow. Reuters.

It’s not that Lufthansa didn’t meet the needs of the working people. They are offered a salary increase of 5% – plus annual bonuses based on the financial performance of the concern: they say, as we work, we will earn. To which the trade unions, after conducting elementary arithmetic calculations, respond with a killer argument: we want money here and now, growth by 5% is lower than the inflation rate.

The strike will end by 06 am Thursday, July 28. However, stranded passengers cannot count on departure on the next flight: most of the seats have long been sold out, and the remaining ones are not enough for everyone.

The aviation trade unions are not going to stop there. The next strike—already the third in recent times—is scheduled for August 3-4.

Strike fever swept other countries of Old Europe. In Britain, 40,000 workers from 14 railway companies are on strike today. Social networks are full of scary photos of empty stations and frozen trains.

The reason for the strike is the same: “The Tory government (the Conservative Party led by Boris Johnson – ed.) allowed a crisis with the growth of our living expenses, and money is losing purchasing power,” British workers complain in an interview with the newspaper Guardian.

The machinists’ strike will last one day, but the next round has already been scheduled: August 18-20. Although it will be a little easier for a stuck passenger here: most tickets are sold not for a specific train, but for a route (like our commuter trains), if you don’t leave today, you may be lucky tomorrow.

The example is contagious – the trade union of the large British airline EasyJet is also thinking of joining the strikes: inflation eats up everyone’s income, there are no islands of prosperity.

And the reason is pure economics. In most Western European countries, left-wing or moderate regimes have been in power for many years (although they may be called “conservatives”, as in Britain, or “Christian Democrats”, as in Germany). Since the second half of the 20th century, they have been trying to build a “welfare state”: where salaries are like under capitalism, and social guarantees are like under communism. And for a long time the model worked.

However, now it turned out that these “ideal states” were based on stable and cheap energy supplies from Russia. Without which, Europe is rapidly turning into a “big Balkans” torn apart by economic and social problems.

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