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(en) Italy: Statement by FdCA Labour Commission

From Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici <internazionale@fdca.it>
Date Thu, 29 Jan 2004 16:14:44 +0100 (CET)

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The new year has started with struggle and repression. The government's
economic policies are dramatically being revealed for what they truly
are. Large cracks are also starting to appear within the unions.
Real inflation remains above 5.5%, while wages and pensions are falling
behind. Jobs are more and more precarious thanks to Law 30. Government policies
are more and more openly in favour of the bosses and high profits to the
detriment of the weaker elements of the population. These are the hallmarks of
a definite social project which the Berlusconi government is setting up on
the neo-liberal foundations laid by previous (centre-left) governments.

On the union front, the fractured unity (more apparent than real)
between the three big unions, following the signature of the Pact for
Italy by the CISL and UIL, was followed by a progressive phase of
rapprochement with the CGIL, both in the managing of contract
renegotiations in certain important sectors such as the civil service
and the railways, and in their substantial acceptance of the contents
of the Pact as far as certain central elements are concerned, such as
Article 13 and Law 30.

This gave rise within the CGIL to a sort of schizophrenia among its
member unions with regard to contract renegotiations. While the FIOM
continues its struggle against the contract signed separately by the
FIM and the UILM, a federation like the FILT has been fighting tooth
and nail for a new contract for its railway worker members which is
nothing short of indecent. This contract contains within it all the
hallmarks of the Pact for Italy, the very pact that the confederation
(CGIL) has been battling, even going so far as to break ranks with the
other unions over the question. And that's not all. The FILT then went
and signed a contract for railway workers which was totally against
their wishes and therefore seriously insufficient regarding their
demands. Naturally they ended up being ignored by their members who
went on to organise mass strikes themselves, strikes which are still
going on even though they are in violation of the law.

So, to summarize, the present situation looks something like this: the
government is going ahead with its anti-social, anti-worker plans while
the CGIL, CISL and UIL stammer quietly in the wings, politely enquiring
if perhaps it would not be possible to go back to the good old days of
government/union partnership deals ("concertazione"), even though the
government considers that policy dead and buried. And now, in the midst
of all this, we have the exemplary struggle of the transport workers.
Exemplary because it is a mass struggle, organized from below. It is a
struggle which has the potential to involve more and more sectors of
the population and unmask a union and a centre-left (with all its
various components, including the consumer organizations) who are by
now quite clearly siding with the privatizations of public services and
who care more for what has been called "Italy Inc." than for the needs
of the workers and the people.

But what do we see, now that the workers have taken back the initiative
autonomously, with the support of the grassroots unions who are finally
able to express a united position and platform (as in the case of the
local transport workers), or combative sectors such as the railway
workers, who never tire of attacking the dramatic effects of the
liberalization of a fundamental public service such as the railways and
who obstinately fight against a disgraceful contract? Naturally, we see

Disciplinary measures against bus drivers who went on strike before
Christmas ignoring the labour draft (*). Suspensions. Police charges.
Even the dismissal of shop stewards, union reps and ordinary workers
who are so bold as to speak out in the media against the dangerous
state of the public railways as a result of their virtual dismantling,
with the CGIL, CISL and UIL as willing accomplices.

The sacking of four railway workers for having stated their opinion, on
the "Report" television programme which was broadcast last autumn,
should be seen as revenge on the part of the company and as a threat,
the intimidation of all workers. It is an important step on the part of
the railway company in its dealings with its employees. They have
started with suspensions but, comforted by the contract signed with the
approval of the big three unions and their hangers-on which allows for
the immediate application of disciplinary measures, they soon reached
the stage of collective sackings.

But behind these disgusting provisions, and by no means secondary in
importance, lies an attempt to gag any form of social dissent. A
government which has no problem in wiping out even the most elementary
of rights, such as the freedom of speech and the freedom to engage in
union activity, clearly would not have any difficulty whatsoever in
persecuting with all possible means its opponents who choose the
political struggle. And so we see persecution, provocation, "plots" and
arrests, particulrly aimed at the more radical sections of the social

The Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici is involved through its members
in the labour, political and social struggles which are shaking this

We are active members of these struggles, introducing into them and
promoting libertarian ideas and practices. We express our total and
unconditional solidarity with the local transport workers who have been
subjected to disciplinary measures and with the railway workers who
have been sacked. We believe it is essential that resistance funds be
set up together with committees to manage them and we call for the
launching of a national campaign aimed at revoking all the disciplinary
measures and dismissals.

The greatest possible solidarity will be required, given the need to
defeat the sinister attempts at criminalization, which seek to make all
forms of self-organization a crime against the constituted order and
"national security". The greatest mass mobilizations will be required
if the repression is not to hit the workers in struggle. It will
require committment on the part of all anti-bureaucratical and
anti-authoritarian social and political forces we are to ensure that
the unease and exasperation around us become a libertarian project for
struggle and autonomy.

Genoa, 12th January 2004

Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici
Labour Commission


* Labour draft: "precettazione", a law which permits the authorities to
"call up" certain workers, obliging them to work under pain of

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