Foodora strikes in Italy – the dark side of the sharing economy

1. The sharing economy?
2. Foodora in Italy
3. New conditions and first strikes
4. Evolution of the struggle
5. Flexibility and the Italian labour market
6. Sources

1. The sharing economy?

foodollsNewspapers report every day how our world is changing because of digital technologies. We often read about full automation, digitalization of life and the end of work. All these themes are interwoven in the sharing economy: apps that connect supply and demand to share a particular good. Foodora is not one of them, as nothing is shared. Foodora is part of the gig-economy, like Uber, MechanicalTurk or Task Rabbit.
Foodora offers restaurants the possibility of new customers by providing a flexible fleet of couriers. An app monitors purchases and assigns them to the couriers based on an algorithm that calculates speed and distances. Restaurants get new orders without employing any more people, paying 30% only on completed deliveries, meaning they have no additional costs. Customers get the food they want from a great variety of restaurants, at home, by paying €2.90 per delivery. Young cyclists, who the company calls “riders” (even in Italian), get to earn some money by moving through the city in their free time. Foodora, the once-small Berlin-based startup has grown into an international business, located in 10 countries and 36 cities. It opened in Italy two years ago, starting in Turin and Milan (northern Italy) and will soon be expanding to Rome, with prospective sales volume growing at a rate of 75% every month.
Currently the riders, roughly 300 in Turin and 600 in Milan, are not directly employed by the company. Instead, they are employed using a contract structure known as “co.co.co” (“contract for continued collaboration on a project”). These contracts effectively result in the riders being regarded as autonomous workers collaborating with the company, which enables the company to bypass several labour regulations which apply to direct employees.
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[fr] Le pari de Matteo Renzi avec la démocratie: Le référendum Italien

renzi_selfieLe 4 Décembre prochain, le peuple italien sera appelé aux urnes pour le référendum sur la reforme constitutionnelle proposée par le gouvernement conservateur et pro-austérité de Matteo Renzi. Le sujet domine la vie politique italienne en raison de l’impact que pourrait avoir cette reforme sur la vie politique et institutionnelle italienne si elle est approuvée, mais aussi en raison de l’agitation qu’elle pourrait provoquer dans la politique italienne si elle venait a être rejetée.

L’importance accordée au référendum a rapidement polarisé la vie socio-politique italienne, servant de paravent a chaque force socio-politique majeur afin de détourner l’attention publique sur ses tares. Le gouvernement et le Parti Démocrate font face a une opposition populaire grandissante en raison de l’énorme écart entre l’effet loué des politiques appliquées par les gouvernants et les difficultés d’une large frange de la population, difficultés engendrées par les politiques néolibérales dictée par l’Union Européenne. Le Mouvement 5 étoiles, malgré ses récentes victoires aux élections municipales a Rome et a Turin, est toujours aux prises avec son identité et sa structure et la médiocrité de ses élus locaux est bien visible. Forza Italia, le parti de Berlusconi, la Ligue du Nord et les autres partis de droite voient en ce référendum le moyen de déloger Renzi du pouvoir afin de se l’approprier et de continuer sur la même ligne politique néolibérale. Les différentes forces de Gauche voient en ce référendum l’occasion de revenir sur la scène politique nationale comme alternatives fiables et stables. La fédération des employeurs Confindustria est d’ores et déjà favorable au débat national car il représente une belle occasion de détourner l’attention publique sur les salaires décroissants, les droits du travail, la sécurité au travail, la précarité du travail et l’enrichissement des employeurs.

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[en] 21st October: a day of general strike

On 21 October, over 1.3 million workers took part in a general strike called by a number of base trade unions (USB, S.I. Cobas, Unicobas, Adl Cobas, Cub Lazio) and joined by many organisations and local groups throughout Italy.

The strike was a political one, and it was called to protest against the Bossi-Fini migration law, EU policies and Matteo Renzi’s government’s most contested measures: the Labour reform known as Jobs Act, the Constitutional Reform, the ‘Good School’ reform of primary and secondary school, and the 2016 Budget Law.

The main aim was to block the centers of the biggest Italian cities and to disrupt the normal operations of the logistics sector, still in uproar after the shocking death of worker and trade unionist Abdelssalam Eldanf, killed the night between September 14 and 15 during a strike in Piacenza. In whichever square or street logistics workers have assembled, this has been the main subject.
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[fr] Expulsion des occupants du dernier squat de Bologne

Le 11 Octobre dernier, le dernier squat d’un immeuble de Bologne situé rue Mario Di Maria dans le quartier ouvrier de Bolognina, comptant une centaine de personnes dont 34 enfants fut fermé par les forces de l’ordre.

En effet selon les habitants, dès l’aube, les policiers et gendarmes encerclèrent le bâtiment et attaquèrent les occupants a coups de matraque et de spray au poivre.

Virginia Gieri, fidèle de Renzi; membre nouvellement élu au conseil de l’urgence au logement , en remplacement de Amelia Frascaroli, jugée trop molle, déclara que les squatteurs sont sortis pacifiquement de l’immeuble tandis que les résidents et témoins de l’événement témoignent avoir vu un homme évanoui après avoir été battu par les forces de l’ordre et d’un autre blesse.

Le gouvernement Renzi mène une politique de répression féroce a l’égare des occupants illégaux de logements et les sections locales du PD ( Parti Démocrate au pouvoir) sont tenues d’appliquer la ligne de conduite dictée par le parti même dans des localités ou le PD se dit “tolérant” et plus “sociale” a l’image de Bologne.

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[en] Matteo Renzi’s gamble with democracy: the Italian constitutional referendum

matteo_renzi_in_russiaOn December 4th 2016 the Italian people will be called upon to vote in a referendum on the constitutional reform put forward by Matteo Renzi’s conservative and pro-austerity government. The topic is dominating Italian political life, because of the major impact the reform would have on the political and institutional life of the Italian Republic if approved, and because of the political turmoil that would follow if rejected.

The focus on the referendum has quickly polarized the Italian socio-political world, allowing every major socio-political force to divert attention from its own flaws. The Government and the Democratic Party are facing growing popular opposition, due to the enormous gap between the trumpeted effects of policies and the real-life struggles of a growing number of people living in Italy, struggles caused by neoliberal European Union driven government policies. The Five Star Movement, despite recent electoral victories in Rome and Turin, is still struggling with its identity and structure, and the mediocrity of its MPs and local politicians is showing. Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, the Northern League and the rest of the right-wing parties see the referendum as a way of dislodging Renzi from power, only to get it back and apply the very same neoliberal policies. The various left-wing parties see the opportunity as a way of coming back to the national stage as a reliable and stable political force. The employers’ federation Confindustria is also favouring this national debate, since it’s conveniently diverting attention from diminishing salaries, labour rights and safety and increasing precariety, and employers’ corresponding enrichment.

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[en] Jacopo Fo’s speech at his father Dario’s funeral

jacopo-fo

Dario Fo, actor, Nobel prizewinner, communist and political activist died in Milan on October 13th. He was 90 years of age. Fo was the spouse and coworker of Franca Rame, who passed away in 2013, and father of Jacopo Fo, writer, activist and actor. Dario Fo married Franca Rame in 1954, and together they created the Dario Fo–Franca Rame Theatre Company, which brought life to dramatic pieces known all over the world. Accidental Death of an Anarchist, their most famous work, dealt with the death of anarchist Giuseppe Pinelli who fell – or rather was thrown – from the fourth floor window of a Milan police station in 1969.

The funeral was preceded by controversy around a number of hypocritical tributes. Many of those who praised Fo tried to separate the actor and the artist from the political activist. Jacopo exploded in protest on Facebook, commenting that ‘Of course, right now everybody is celebrating Dario. After spending a lifetime trying to censure and hit him in every possible way. Screw them.’

Dario Fo’s funeral was held in Milan, in the Duomo Square, on the morning of Saturday 15th October 2016. Many people, not discouraged by the heavy rain, attended the non-religious ceremony, and his closest friend spoke, remembering his life force, his laughter, his work, his political and artistic commitment and his love for his wife. The last to speak was a visibly moved Jacopo:

“To all of you here, I’d like to tell you a story from many years ago, when I was still a child.

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[en] Last remaining housing occupation in Bologna has been evicted

mariodemariaThe eviction of the last remaining housing occupation in Bologna – around 100 people, 34
of them children, living in a building in Via Mario De Maria, in the working-class neighborhood of Bolognina – started at dawn on October 11. The police and the carabinieri surrounded the block and raided the building, beating people and even using pepper spray, the residents say.

The newly elected council member for the housing emergency, Virginia Gieri, said that the residents “came out peacefully”, but the residents and witnesses say something different. One man passed out after he was beaten and another person was injured.

Gieri, a loyal follower of Renzi, was appointed to the delicate job of being in charge of the housing emergency in Bologna, after the last incumbent, Amelia Frascaroli, was considered to be too soft. Renzi’s government is holding a line of absolute repression against housing occupations, and PD local authorities all over Italy are toeing this line, even in places – like Bologna – where the party claims to be more “tolerant” and to have a welfare-oriented tradition.

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Posted in Activism, Grassroots movements, Migrant struggles, Repression, [en] | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment