The reform of Italian labour market is the top priority of Monti’s Government. The key themes of the current political debate are the improvement of job flexibility and the controversial reform of the article 18 of workers’ law, to dismiss workers of big enterprises without “a just cause” . The proposed round table between government officials and Italian unions seems to be far from an agreement in the short term, while Minister Fornero declared that the reform will be done either with or without unions’ consent. A crucial issue appears to be the definition of social safety nets in case of unemployment, while the government is committed to contain public expenditure. In fact, according to recent estimate, in Italy almost one million of jobs have already been lost and unemployment rate reached 31% among younger generations. Meanwhile, factory workers’ strikes and protests are mounting in most of the country. Sardinia is the outpost of a financial crisis, which is slowly striking all the production chain. About 1000 Alcoa workers, the aluminium multinational giant, are now in redundancy payment, de facto paralyzing the economy of an entire district dependent on Alcoa’s salaries in the south west of the region, where unemployment rates are already above the national average. Other workers all over Italy suffer similar conditions, just to mention a few: Fincantieri, Servirail, Ferrotel and Omsa Workers.
Austerity policies also canceled State funds to political and cooperative press. After “Liberazione” newspaper, which closed down, from February 8th also “Il Manifesto”, the historical leftwing newspaper, will be closer to bankruptcy. Against this general climate of economic cuts and expense reductions, the Defense Ministry plan to buy 131 new F-35 in the Joint Strike Fighters programme has been confirmed. In the havoc produced by the financial crisis, Italian Government with its European partners and the US committed to participate in the most expensive military programme of Italian history. While hiding to public opinion the actual costs of such operation, the Minister just claimed: “it will create new jobs”. Similar analysis could be made about the coherence of supposed pro-growth policies when analyzing the construction of High Speed Railway lines (TAV). Recent studies of the Milan Engineer Faculty (Politecnico di Milano) confirmed that only the Roma-Milano line will produce economic benefits, while other lines will most likely present financial loss. In the light of this, the NoTav movement and the persecution against it is becoming more and more a critical space where the Italian class conflict will be fought in the near future.
The 25 NoTav activists arrested on the 26 of January are still in jail or under house arrest. Solidarity actions took place in Turin, in Val Susa, Milan, Bologna, Rome, Palermo and in many other smaller Italian cities. On the 8th of February a solidarity concert by Assalti Frontali was organized outside Le Vallette prison, in Turin.
More on Struggles In Italy
– text [en] Little Victory for OMSA workers
– text [en] Omsa Worker Call for Boycott
– text [en] Fincantieri workers struggle
– text [en] Servirail and Ferrotel workers protest
– text [en] Repression against the NOTAV movement
– text [en] Occupy Liberazione
– text [en] Murder attempt inquiry to be dismissed over G8 facts in Genova