Season Of The Strike

LAURENT REBOURS/AP

UNITED FRONT: France's civil servants joined forces to stop privatization plans and demand higher wages

Across Europe last week, union members left their jobs and marched. From the teachers and firemen of Britain to the cabbies and doctors of Greece, their demands were much the same: more social welfare benefits, shorter hours, better pay. Angry workers are the last thing European governments need right now. Confronted with sluggish growth and an accompanying drop in tax receipts, finance ministers worry that labor concessions would push budget deficits over E.U. limits. So some politicians are playing it tough, either denying union claims outright or linking them to cost-saving and modernization. Other leaders are caving in, delaying or diluting...

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