May and June strikes: Here's the expected disruption around Europe (2023)

Workers across Europe are walking out to protest low pay and poor working conditions.

Europe is a hive of strike action right now, with many employees unhappy that sky-high inflation has not been matched by higher wages.

Walkouts are planned all over Europe, showing that it always pays to check before you travel.

Luckily, we have gathered all of the strike information together below.

Read on to find out where and when are walkouts taking place.

If your flight or train is cancelled or delayed, you will be entitled to a new ticket or compensation. Read our guide for the full details.

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Italy: Transport strikes happening in May

A 24-hour ground handling strike on 19 May is set to be far smaller than planned after various unions postponed their walkouts in response to thecatastrophic floods in northern Italy. Strikes by members of Italian unions Cgil, Cisl, Uil and Ugl will now take place on 4 June.

Two unions, CUB and USB, however say their protests will still go ahead on 19 May - though CUB has cancelled strike action in the flood-hitEmilia Romagna region. It is unclear who many staff still plan to walk out.Cabin crew from several airlines serving Italian routes were also set to strike on the same day. It is not clear whether these strikes will still go ahead.

The action is over employment contracts for handling staff at Italian airports. Unions say pay and conditions have not been improved in the last six years.

ITA had already cancelled 113 domestic flights on 19 May, but says most passengers have been rebooked on alternative flights.

Cabin staff at Air Dolomiti, a subsidiary of Lufthansa operating routes from Germany to 13 different Italian destinations, were set to take part in a 24-hour national strike. Volotea cabin crews from all around the country also planned to strike from 1-5pm.

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Ground staff from American Airlines and Emirates planned to strike for four hours between 12 and 4pm.

The good news is that under Italian law, flights scheduled to leave between 7-10am and 6-9pm are also protected from strike action. This is the list of flights that are guaranteed to go ahead.

Italy: Nationwide bus, train and tram strike

There is a nationwide, 24-hour general strike on 26 May which will affect bus and tram services as well as metro lines, with significant delays and cancellations likely to take place on the day. At the time of writing, it isn't yet clear whether local and interregional rail services will also be affected by the walkout.

The strike was called by the Italian union USB (Unione Sindacati di Base) in protest against precarious work contracts and low wages.

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France: Travellers warned about ongoing French pension protests

Unions across France have been in an ongoing battle against an increase in the legal retirement age from 62 to 64.

Protests broke out across the country after President Emmanuel Macron decided to push through the change without a parliamentary vote.Rubbish built up in Paris and was set on fire. Protesters have also clashed with police in the French capital.

Trade unions have now announced a new nationwide day of protests on 6 June ahead of the French parliament's National Assembly on 8 June.

May and June strikes: Here's the expected disruption around Europe (1)
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The level of travel disruption on strike days has varied. However, there have been flight and train cancellations and tourist attractions in Paris do sometimes close. So it is worth checking ahead of time if you'll be travelling on a strike day.

Air traffic controllers (ATC) have been on strike since March, affecting flights all over Europe. Low-cost airline Ryanair said that in the first four months of 2023, there were more than 50 days of ATC strikes leading to more than 3,700 cancelled flights and affecting more than 666,000 passengers.

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Belgium: Disruption expected in Brussels

Three major unions in Belgium have called for a strike on 22 May.

Brussels' main transport operator, STIB-MIVB, has warned to expect disruption to the metro, trams and buses.

At the time of writing Belgian national railway company SNCB does not anticipate significant disruption to its services.

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UK: Security staff strikes continue at Heathrow Airport

Security staff at Heathrow are on strikefrom 25 to 26 May as part of a row over pay. This industrial action almost exclusively affects Terminal 5 and British Airways is the only airline to operate from this terminal.

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It is difficult to predict how much disruption the walkouts will cause.

Whereas the organising union Unite say it will cause "mayhem", Heathrow says it has managed to keep the airport running smoothly during the previous industrial action, involving around 1,400 security staff.

"We anticipate that the airport will be busy during this period, and additional "Here to Help" teams are available to assist passengers," a statement on Heathrow's website says.

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The airport has advised people to check the status of their flight before travelling. Passengers have been told to arrive no earlier than two hours before short-haul flights and three hours before long-haul flights.

Travellers will also only be able to bring two items of carry-on luggage through security on strike days. Handbags and laptop bags do count but checked baggage isn't affected.

British Airways is offering passengers the chance to check in hand luggage for free to reduce pressure on security checkpoints.

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Scotland: Potential disruption at Glasgow airport

Security staff who work at Glasgow airport have been negotiating a pay rise. They have just rejected what the Unite union called a "derisory" offer of a 5 per cent pay increase.

The union is balloting 400 workers employed by five companies; Glasgow Airport Ltd, ICTS Central Search, OCS, ABM and Falck Fire Services UK on strike action.

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"If these companies don’t come back with fair and decent offers then a summer of travel chaos is on the horizon," warned Pat McIlvogue, Unite industrial officer.

No strike dates had been announced at the time of writing.

May and June strikes: Here's the expected disruption around Europe (2)

Spain: Airline and airport strikes continue into summer

The Spanish Airline Pilots Union (SEPLA) is calling for a fresh wave of strike days for pilots at Air Europa. They will be walking out from 22 to 26 and 29 to 30 May then again on 1 to 2 June. These will take place at all of the airline's bases of operation and workplaces in Spain.

The union has warned that strikes “will be extended in the coming months if the company refuses to negotiate a fair agreement.”

Pilots represented by SEPLA at other airlines in Spain, including Ryanair and Easyjet, are also considering strike action this summer.

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It is part of an ongoing protest against the Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agency’s application of the 'minimum services law'. This requires at least 90 per cent of flights to go ahead even when they are taking part in industrial action of pay.

SEPLA argues that the way this law has been applied impedes on the pilots' constitutional rights to a full strike and protects the interests of Air Europe bosses.Other groups including air traffic controllers and flight attendants could also join the walkouts to put pressure on airlines and the government.

If you know of a big strike happening in your country that we have missed, we'd love to hear from you via Twitter.

(Video) PBS NewsHour full episode, May 10, 2022


May and June strikes: Here's the expected disruption around Europe? ›

May and June strikes: Here's the expected disruption around Europe. Workers across Europe are walking out to protest low pay and poor working conditions. Many employees are unhappy that sky-high inflation has not been matched by higher wages.

What are the strikes in Europe about? ›

People in several EU member states including Spain and Germany went on strike recently, primarily asking for better pay and working conditions.

Are the airport strikes in Germany in 2023? ›

Germany: Airport strikes hit Berlin, Hamburg – DW – 04/24/2023.

What was the largest general strike in history? ›

Largest U.S. worker strikes 2022, by number of workers. The largest strike in U.S. history was the Steel Strike of 1959, which lasted 116 days between July and November of 1959.

What percentage of strikes are successful? ›

Close to one-half of all strikes were successful, while 40 percent were failures. Perhaps surprisingly, only a small fraction of strikes were coded as partially successful.

How many countries have the right to strike? ›

Just about every country in the world recognises that workers have the right to take strike action. Some 90 countries even have it enshrined in their national constitution.

Are flights to Italy affected by French strikes? ›

Cancellations went up by 63 per cent. The UK, Germany and Italy also saw between 6 and 8 per cent of departures disrupted which were again mostly overflights.

Is Germany closed to US travel? ›

Entry and Exit Requirements

All other U.S. citizens can enter Germany for all purposes, including tourism.

Which German airports are affected by strike? ›

Last week, Duesseldorf, Hamburg, Cologne-Bonn and Stuttgart airports were hit by strikes. Ralph Beisel, chief executive of the airport association ADV, said unions were taking their right to carry out warning strikes prior to arbitration to absurd lengths.

Is Germany safe to travel in 2023? ›

Yes, Germany is a very safe country to visit.

While some countries have travel advisories in place for their citizens due to the threat of terrorism, the probability that such an incident will occur while you are in the country is very low.

Has there ever been a general strike in the US? ›

There were periodical strikes throughout the early 19th century that could loosely be considered as 'general strikes'. In the United States, the 1835 Philadelphia General Strike lasted for three weeks, after which the striking workers won their goal of a ten-hour workday and an increase in wages.

Has Canada ever had a general strike? ›

The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 was the largest strike in Canadian history (see Strikes and Lockouts). Between 15 May and 25 June 1919, more than 30,000 workers left their jobs (see Work). Factories, shops, transit and city services shut down.

What was the first ever strike in America? ›

The Jamestown Polish craftsmen's strike of 1619 took place in the settlement of Jamestown in the Virginia colony. It was the first documented strike in North America. Skilled craftsmen were sent by the Virginia Company to Jamestown to produce pitch, tar, and turpentine used for shipbuilding.

How many strikes will you need to be out? ›

A strike is anytime the hitter swings at a pitch and misses or any pitch that is in the strike zone (whether the hitter swings or not). Three strikes and the batter is out! The batter is also given a strike when they hit a foul ball and they have less than two strikes.

Who Cannot strike in the UK? ›

Is anyone allowed to strike at present? A few professions are already not allowed to strike. Police officers are banned from taking strike action. Nurses have an agreement to only walk out if the wellbeing of patients is unaffected.

Why is everyone in the UK striking? ›

A wave of strikes has disrupted life in Britain as workers react to decades-high inflation that reached 11.1% in October 2022. In recent months, public transport staff, teachers, postal workers and border staff have all walked off the job to demand higher pay and better working conditions.

Can police go on strike USA? ›

While police strikes are illegal, job actions — such as work slowdowns or cases of "blue-flu" — can significantly reduce police activity.

Do Americans have the right to strike? ›

Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act states in part, “Employees shall have the right. . . to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.” Strikes are included among the concerted activities protected for employees by this section.

What countries don't have a right to strike? ›

Austria & Germany. In Austria and Germany, civil servants do not have the right to strike, since their services are considered essential.

Is Paris safe to visit right now? ›

France's national security threat alert is at the medium level 'Reinforced Security – Threat risk'. There's a risk of terrorist attacks in France. Attacks could be indiscriminate. Be cautious around locations known to be targeted.

What happens if my flight is cancelled due to strike Europe? ›

According to EU regulations, if your flight is cancelled because of strike action you are entitled to one of the below: Reimbursement: A full refund, paid no later than seven days after the scheduled flight. Re-routing: A different flight to your destination from a nearby airport.

Can you fly straight to Italy? ›

Which airlines offer direct flights to Italy? ITA Airways, KLM, Delta, Air France, Iberia, British Airways, American Airlines and Finnair all fly non-stop to Italy.

How long can a US citizen stay in Germany? ›

A Schengen visa is required if you intend to stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days within a 180 day period for business, visitor or tourist purposes.

Can I drive in Germany with US driver license? ›

To sum up, you may drive in Germany with your American license for up to six months. Afterwards, you need to obtain a German license (with or without taking a German exam, depending on where you acquired your U.S. driver's license), unless a reciprocity agreement is in place.

Can Americans live in Germany? ›

As a US citizen, you do not need a long-stay visa to enter Germany. But, if you plan to stay longer than three months, you must apply for a residence permit in the first few days of your arrival. Remember that you can stay in Germany visa-free for up to three months, and only for tourist reasons.

What happens if an airport goes on strike? ›

When an airline or airport goes on strike, it implies that there are not enough staff members to proceed with the delivery of their services. In other words, many flights need to be cancelled or delayed.

Why are Italy airports on strike? ›

The action is over employment contracts for handling staff at Italian airports. Unions say pay and conditions have not been improved in the last six years. ITA had already cancelled 113 domestic flights on 19 May, but says most passengers have been rebooked on alternative flights.

Why did Turks and Caicos airport go on strike? ›

Sun, Mar 11th 2012, 11:00 PM. A TWO-DAY strike by firefighters in the Turks and Caicos Islands that has affected travel in the area is at an end. The firemen went on strike over moves to transfer them from the Fire Department to the Airports Authority.

What is the safest country in Europe? ›

Switzerland ranks as the safest place in Europe. With very low homicide, assault and road fatalities, travellers are likely to be very safe in this country. Switzerland also has a very low risk of natural disasters and one of the lowest levels of corruption perception in Europe.

Will Americans need to register to travel to Europe in 2023? ›

Once implemented in 2023, each and every traveler entering Europe without a visa will need one. The purpose of ETIAS is to enhance border security to the EU. It is designed for short-term (90 days or less) visits to the EU and will be required for entry to the EU after the projected ETIAS launch date of November 2023.

Are Germans friendly to tourists? ›

Germans are very welcoming, so it's not uncommon for a tourist to be invited into a German home. If this happens, its important to show gratitude with a small gift such as flowers, wine or candy.

Why doesn't the US have general strikes? ›

General strikes are rare in American social movements, because they are difficult to coordinate. On the other hand, few actions offer a more direct challenge to those in power. What can today's protesters learn from their activist ancestors to help participants draw strength?

How many workers are on strike in the US? ›

What this report finds: Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the number of workers involved in a major strike activity in the United States was 120,600 in 2022, an increase from 80,700 in 2021.

What was the bloodiest strike? ›

One of the most notorious incidents of violence against management occurred in 1892 during the Homestead Strike—one of the most violent industrial disputes in American history—when Alexander Berkman attempted to assassinate Henry Clay Frick, chairman of the Carnegie Steel Company and manager of the mill where the ...

What is bloody Saturday? ›

On June 21, 1919, the Royal North-West Mounted Police and hired union busters rode on horseback and fired into a crowd of thousands of workers, killing two and injuring countless others. The infamous “Bloody Saturday” marked the end of the strike.

Has Canada ever been in a war against the US? ›

The resulting War of 1812 was fought largely on Canadian territory, especially along the Niagara frontier. The Americans were superior in numbers but badly organized.

Has America ever tried to take over Canada? ›

The United States invaded Canada in two wars: Invasion of Canada (1775), American Revolutionary War. Invasion of Canada (1812), War of 1812.

Where was the first wage strike in the US? ›

The earliest recorded strike occurred in 1768 when New York journeymen tailors protested a wage reduction. The formation of the Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers (shoemakers) in Philadelphia in 1794 marks the beginning of sustained trade union organization among American workers.

Why were strikes so violent in the 1900s? ›

Growing labor unrest led to a string of major strikes and protests, with workers demanding higher pay, safer working conditions and the right to unionize. The demonstrations often sparked violent clashes with police and private company security forces.

What does the K mean in a strikeout? ›

In the scorebook, a strikeout is denoted by the letter K. A third-strike call on which the batter doesn't swing is denoted with a backward K.

Why is a strikeout a K? ›

The scoring symbol “K” was first used in the scoring of an actual game in 1868. One reason the letter “K” was used because “K” was the prominent letter of the word strike. Another reason the letter "K" is used is that it is made with 3 strokes of the pencil, symbolizing the 3 strikes for the strikeout.

What baseball used to be called in England? ›

Stoolball. In an 1802 book entitled The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England, Joseph Strutt claimed to have shown that baseball-like games can be traced back to the 14th century, in particular an English game called stoolball.

Why is everyone going on strike? ›

Working conditions and job losses. But it's not just about pay. Many of the current strikes happening aren't just about getting pay rising, but also protecting jobs, fighting against worsening working conditions, and putting an end to insecure contracts and outsourcing.

Can you go sick when on strike? ›

Sickness absence

An employee who is absent due to sickness on any day strike action is called must provide a medical certificate. We will reimburse employees who are charged by their doctor if they have a receipt.

Can I refuse to cross a picket line UK? ›

Lawful purposes of picketing

In no circumstances does a picket have power, under the law, to require other people to stop, or to compel them to listen or to do what he asks them to do. A person who decides to cross a picket line must be allowed to do so.

Why does France always have strikes? ›

The strikes are in response to a series of reforms to public sector pensions by the French government. Those reforms include raising the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 and increasing the number of years that a worker has to have worked before they can take a pension.

Why are people striking in Europe? ›

Strikes are a significant part of the culture of working life in Europe. People in several EU member states including Spain and Germany went on strike recently, primarily asking for better pay and working conditions.

What is Germany on strike for? ›

Unionized public transport workers plan to strike across five of Germany's 16 regions on May 4 in a dispute over increased pay awards. The United Services Union (Verdi) organized the industrial action as part of an ongoing campaign.

Why are there strikes in England? ›

Since May–June 2022, a series of labour strikes and industrial disputes have occurred in various industries of the United Kingdom's economy as workers walked out over pay and conditions. The strikes took place with rising inflation, and demands for pay increases that would keep pace with this inflation.

What is the general strike in Italy about? ›

The FISI and USB unions have called for a nationwide public and private sector strike on May 26 as part of a dispute over pay and privatization. The strike will impact public transport, sanitation, healthcare, educational, and local government services.

Why are there strikes in Britain? ›

A wave of strikes has disrupted life in Britain as workers react to decades-high inflation that reached 11.1% in October 2022. In recent months, public transport staff, teachers, postal workers and border staff have all walked off the job to demand higher pay and better working conditions.

Why strike in France? ›

A national strike is taking place in France after President Emmanuel Macron's circumvention of parliament to pass the divisive pension bill which would raise the retirement age by two years.

What is the cost of living in Germany? ›

The cost of living: average values for Germany in 2022

According to Destatis, it adds up to €2,507 a month, with 37% of this going towards housing and energy costs and 15% on food, alcohol, and tobacco (as of September 2022). If you calculate this on an annual basis, the average cost of living in Germany is €30,084.

Why is Germany allies with us? ›

The United States recognizes that the security and prosperity of the United States and Germany significantly depend on each other. As Allies in NATO, the United States and Germany work side by side to maintain peace, security, and freedom.

Are strikes common in the US? ›

Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes. About 185,000 strokes—nearly 1 in 4—are in people who have had a previous stroke.

What was the longest strike in British history? ›

The Burston Strike School was founded as a consequence of a school strike and became the centre of the longest running strike in British history, that lasted from 1914 to 1939 in the village of Burston in Norfolk, England.

Why did Italy betrayed Germany? ›

Italy's main issue was its enmity with Austria-Hungary, Germany's main ally. That made Italy the "odd man out" in the so-called Triple Alliance with the other two. Italy had joined (reluctantly) with Germany out of a fear of France.

Does Italy have strikes? ›

Strikes in Italy: The Basics. Strikes in Italy are common, and could definitely affect your trip. Strikes are so common in fact, that one of the first words I learned after moving to Italy was sciopero, the Italian word for “strike”.

Why was Italy upset with the peace? ›

Italy was disappointed that it was denied territory promised by Britain and France.

What causes us to strike? ›

Causes of Strike

Dissatisfaction with the policies of the company. Hours of work and interval timings. Holidays and leaves with pay. Bonus, Provident Fund, and gratuity.


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