Freedom News

Italy: Base unions set for general strike

Anarcho-syndicalist union USI and other base unions in Italy are organising for a general strike on October 27th over a host of issues around working rights, wages, pensions, privatisation, racism and military spending.

Groups including CUB, SGB and COBAS have joined the walkout, which has made the following demands for change across both public and private-sector companies:

  • Abolish wage, social, economic, gender and migrant inequalities
  • Strong wage increases, reduced working time and public investment for the environment
  • Pensions at 60 years or with 35 years of contributions
  • Against privatisation and market liberalisation
  • Universal rights to health, housing, school and public mobility
  • In defence of the right to strike
  • Against the scam agreement of January 10, 2014 on representation (see below)
  • Against all kinds of war and military spending

The strike is a strident snub to Italy’s four major unions (Confindustria, CGIL, CISL and UIL), which have faced rising criticism over falling short in representing working class issues and particularly since they collectively signed an agreement in 2014 which largely served to help stitch up negotiating power and and representative functions in their favour. The big four, similar in scope to Britain’s TUC unions, have responded in a similar way to German ones in the face of general union decline by aiming to exclude smaller, more radical unions from legitimacy.

Several of the unions have transport sections, meaning the strike will likely hit trains, shipping and bus routes, though the scope of the strike looks like it will be far broader. Many union branches are taking the occasion to hit back against localised grievances as well, such as USI’s Reggio Emilia section which is taking on changes to regional contracts by major cooperative federations Confcooperative and Legacoop. In a statement the union branch explained:

This will involve more than 5,000 people employed by the Social Cooperatives in the educational, health and social fields in our province. The original contract protected workers when management changed, from car insurance to monthly salary. Another section was the ERT which redistributed earnings among workers.

We recall that in the last few years a violent process of precarisation has been undergone by the entire Third Sector, by hitting workers with both a weakened salary and worse working conditions.

The striking unions have assured that minimal essential services will be maintained during the walkout.

This article is based on edited machine translations. If there are errors let us know!

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