Sardinia is most often associated with sun, beautiful white beaches and gorgeous nature. People normally refer to it as a land of beauty and tourism. Unfortunately, this is only part of the story. If one moves away from its developed and wealthy coast, it is possible to discover another Sardinia, a region heavily hit by the current economic crisis where unemployment rate among youngsters has reached a worrying 50% and where a quarter of the all population lives in poverty.
These contradictions became evident nationally thanks to the protest of Vynils’ workers who officially lost their jobs due to higher costs of production which provoked the bankruptcy of their firm. Vynils, in fact, is an important chemical industry located in various Italian regions (Sardinia, Veneto, Emilia Romagna). When at the beginning of 2009, ENI raised the price of the raw material, local production became unsustainable, the factory went under an extraordinary administration and its workers were sent to redundancy payment.
As a result, in February 2010 a group of Vinyls Sardinian workers occupied the abandoned prison on the Asinara island, and started a communicative experiment that they called “reality”. It was, they said, “the only real reality”. Inspired by the name of a famous reality tv programme, they named it “L’isola dei cassintegrati” (The island of workers on redundancy payment). They opened a facebook page and then a blog in which they described their working conditions, their insecurity and lack of prospects for the future. Soon L’Isola dei cassintegrati gained the attention of thousands of people on the internet and of all national medias. The site became a megaphone for others workers struggles in Italy, and also a benchmark for people who were interested and wanted to sustain them.
Meanwhile the negotiations for the acquisition of the factories collapsed. A Swiss fund, the only potential buyer for the entire industry, quit, and the factories were opened to dismantlement. The Asinara workers resisted on the island for 15 months. Now the “reality” has closed, but their site remains one of the most important junctions for Italian information about workers struggles.