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(en) Italy, FdCA Statement on the repression at the Fiat factory in Melfi

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 26 Apr 2004 18:53:05 +0200 (CEST)

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Once again capitalism, in the shape of Fiat, has recourse to the
institutional violence of the State in order to safeguard its interests
as soon as they are threatened even slightly - this time by the
struggle of the workers of Fiat's Melfi factory and the solidarity of
thousands of other workers in the Basilicata region [of southern Italy]
and of Fiat workers in other factories. Once again State repression is
unleashed in order to protect the domination of the capitalist class
over its workers, its "property".
After 10 years of total submission, there has finally been, in Melfi, a
re-awakening in class consciousness and a will to fight among the
workers, based on 4 precise questions: wages, shifts, workload and

In the Melfi factory, overtime is paid at 45% the usual rate, whereas
in other Fiat factories the figure is 60.4%.

In Melfi, there are 18 shifts per week, 3 shifts per day of 8 hours
each divided as follows: 7 hours 15 minutes work, 30 minutes meal
break, 15 for shift changeovers. The shifts begin at 6am, 2pm and 10pm.

In Melfi, you work 2 weeks doing 6 days in a row then in the third week
you do 3 days in a row. Over the following 2 weeks you do not change
shift, so anyone (man or woman) doing the night shift has to do it for
2 weeks. The result - hundreds of car accidents involving shift workers
on their way home.

In Melfi, the "tmc2" work regulation system is in operation, a system
which is designed to ensure an exhausting workrate.

In Melfi, workers' ideas or objections are not listened to, thought the
company boasts of factories which operate thanks to the collaboration
of all involved.

In Melfi, thousands of disciplinary measures against workers are handed
out every year.

In other words: the same old weapons of Capital in the factory, just
like it was 150 years ago.

This is what the 5,000 workers of the Melfi factory are fighting
against together with 3,300 workers in allied industries. They are
being supported by certain unions, for example the (Cgil-affiliated)
FIOM and the SLAI-Cobas. Their determined struggle is seeking to force
the company to review the rules it imposed ten years ago, using the
high unemployment levels of the Lucania region as a threat.

Once again, repressive intervention by the State is confirmation, were
it needed, of the government's descent into total authoritarianism
which has led it to limit the workers' right to strike, to criminalize
self-organized labour struggles, and to intimidate workers with
punitive measures, as we saw with the measures taken again those local
transport workers who broke the anti-strike law.

Once again the decisions taken by certain unions confirm that their aim
is to divide the workers, to ensure they do not unite and have no
control over their struggles and their demands.

Once again, agreements are being made which go against the will of the
workers, as expressed in their struggles.

But the workers sense of identity is beginning to emerge:
long-established transport workers standing with their young workmates
on temporary contracts, the 5,000 employees with another 750 outsourced
workers and those at the Sata plant in Melfi, the solidarity being
shown by workers in other plants and factories.

The world of radical syndicalism and, indeed, all workers must support
the Melfi workers struggle and will to organize themselves if we are to
ensure that labour is not just another commodity or slavery.




Labour Commission


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