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(en) FdCA Labour Commission statement: Staff-leasing and the destruction of workers' solidarity and unity (it)

From Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici <internazionale@fdca.it>
Date Sun, 15 Aug 2004 13:09:42 +0200 (CEST)

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Thanks to Law No.30 and Decree No.276, from this week on companies will
be able to offer a new form of contract enabling them to "rent" groups
of workers for an indeterminate period of time, a formula known as
"staff leasing". These workers for hire are offered by temp agencies
which have now been turned into multi-service agencies for the
provision of manpower. Groups such as Adecco or Manpower will now be
looking forward to huge profits for their services to industry.
No such luck instead for the workers. They are being transformed into
alienated and anonymous units of manpower and sold at market rates to
this or that business. Neither should we be tricked by the expression
"an indeterminate period of time"! This does not mean (as it has
traditionally done with National Labour Contracts) "forever". It simply
means that no termination date has been established. In fact, the
contract allows for the possibility of getting rid of the entire
"package" of rented workers with simply x number of days' or months'

These rented workers will no longer be able to consider the company
they work for as "theirs": the company will have no responsabilities
towards the workers (other than those concerning the workers' safety
and hygiene) despite the fact they are gaining profit from them as
usual. Claims or demands will not be made to the boss you work for, but
to the manpower agency, who will be the actual employer. The company
considers these workers as "external" to it

This indeterminate period of time will therefore concern only the
commercial relationship between the two companies involved, who will be
able to use any of the forms of contract which Law No.30 provides for
with regard to the workers (on-call work, part-time, intermittent,
temporary "training" contracts, etc.). Whenever the renting company is
unable to hire out its human goods, and then only in the case where the
worker has an "indeterminate-period" contract, the worker will receive
what is called "availability benefit", in other words a monthly cheque
which the government's Department of Welfare states cannot be less than
a mere 350 Euro.

As far as pay is concerned, workers will receive the same rates as
others in their category, but regulations will have to be provided for
in an ad hoc collective national labour contract for all those entering
the world of staff leasing. And this is something that will surely lead
to divisions within the working class. As for the application of
Article 18 of the Workers' Statute and of other labour laws, these
rented workers will be ignored. If a company with fewer than 15
employees takes on 200 in staff leasing, those first 15 will continue
to be unprotected by Article 18. Neither will leased workers be
eligible to participate in elections for union representatives in their
workplaces: their apparent boss is not their real boss, and no action
can be taken by the leased workers against him. They will also be
unable to elect a safety representative which will instead be assigned
under the contract between the two companies.

In a similar way to temporary work (something which the centre-left
parties sought), the consequences of the applications of staff leasing
could be devastating for workers and for their ability to organize
themselves in a solid, unitary way in the struggle against exploitation
and the denial of their rights. Leasing will mean that workers will in
fact be producing profit twice - once for the agency who hires them out
(for profit, naturally), and once again for the company which uses them
and extracts profit from their labour. The exploitation is therefore
doubled while at the same time the workers will see taken from them any
possibility of defence or action to protect their wages, responsibility
for which passes from the workplace to the commercial contract between
the supply company and the client company. Control of labour will also
be doubled, in the sense that the supply agency will control the terms
of employment when it stipulates the sale of the "package" of workers
and the client company does likewise by dictating the places and hours
of production. There derives a subordination which is equal to the
exploitation and aggravates by the artificial division produced by the
different relationship with the company with respect to the company's
own employees.

We anarchist communists, who have always defended the aim of the
working class of re-gaining control over the manual and intellectual
functions of labour, and who by our political and union action support
and defend solidarity and class unity, consider the struggle against
the application of Law No.30 to be an integral part of the general
labour struggle of all categories on a national and local level which
must seek:

* the sabotage of Law No.30 by denouncing and fighting off any attempt
at agreement on its application between the government, businesses,
supply agencies and union organizations, both signatories of the Pact
For Italy and non-signatories who have changed their minds;

* wage equality and equality of rights for all workers;

* the establishment of self-managed grassroots groups which can
represent all workers in the workplace and in the community and rebuild
contractual unity, re-uniting the interests of the workers and breaking
down the barriers caused by selfish individualism, corporativism and
the commercialization of our lives.

Bari, 5th August 2004

Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici - Labour Commission


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