Hundreds of thousands of industrial workers strike in Germany
31 January 2018
As Germany’s ruling elite conspires to form a new government to slash workers’ wages, attack democratic rights and remilitarize the country, the working class is giving its response in the form of the country’s biggest strike movement in 15 years.
On Wednesday, more than 65,000 workers in Germany’s metal and electrical industries will strike for 24 hours. On Thursday and Friday, hundreds of thousands more will follow. The IG Metall union has called 24-hour warning strikes nationwide in 250 companies, including Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen.
The extension of industrial action is taking place despite the efforts of the IG Metall leadership to contain the current contract struggle and reach a rotten compromise that betrays the workers’ demands. It is an expression of the growing anger and militancy of the workers after decades of social attacks by the government and employers.
The significance of this struggle goes far beyond the borders of Germany. Throughout Europe and around the world the ruling elites are engaged in a drive to dismantle labor protections and destroy workers’ wages and benefits in order to fund new and bigger wars and line their own pockets.
The strike wave in Germany is a confirmation of the World Socialist Web Site’s prognosis at the New Year that “The year 2018–the bicentenary of Marx’s birth—will be characterized, above all, by an immense intensification of social tensions and an escalation of class conflict around the world.”
The names of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the country’s former finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, have for years been synonymous with brutal attacks on the European working class. The austerity diktats that upended…