Workers in Greece and Belgium walked off the job this week as protests have unfolded all across Europe pushing back against soaring cost of living prices driven by inflation in what some have labeled a “winter of discontent.”
Workers in Greece held a 24-hour general strike this week when thousands of protesters marched through Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki, prompting brief clashes with small groups of protesters breaking off from the main group, and throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks at police who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.
The strike disrupted services around the country, with ferries tied up in port, severing connections to Greece’s islands, state-run schools shutting, public hospitals running with reduced staff and most public transport grinding to a standstill.
A similar scene unfolded in Belgium, as traffic backups were reported across the country after workers set up picket lines at supermarkets and shopping centers to protest runaway inflation and energy bill spikes due in part to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
More than 100,000 government workers could be walking off the job this winter in the United Kingdom to protest cost of living hikes, according to The Sun, and Reuters reported that drivers working for 12 British train operators announced they will strike on Nov. 26.
Striking subway workers shut down half of the Paris Metro lines Thursday, a nationwide day of walkouts and protests by French train drivers, teachers and other public-sector workers demanding the government and employers increase salaries to keep up with inflation.
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in France last month in a strike that called for pay hikes to keep up with inflation that had hit 6.2%.
Scotland’s main teaching union said on Thursday that it had won an “overwhelming mandate” to strike along with a major rail union and postal worker union, who are also threatening to strike this winter, Financial Times reported.
Workers in Spain are also pushing back against cost of living increases as truck drivers have called for an indefinite strike next Monday, News24 reported.
Thousands of Bulgarians took to the streets on Friday in a rally organized by the country’s two largest labor unions to protest inflation and demand higher salaries this winter to compensate for the rising cost of living.
Inflation hit a new record in October in the 19 countries that use the euro currency. Economic growth also slowed ahead of what economists fear is a looming recession, largely as a result of those higher prices sapping Europeans’ ability to spend.
Associated Press contributed to this report.