[en] May Day protests against union confederations

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There was a clear split in the May Day celebration in Bologna. On one side there was the union confederations’ demonstration, and on the other side there were the base unions, the Articolo 33 Committee campaigning for the referendum about removing public financing from private schools, the social movements and hundreds of people who did not feel represented by the other, heavily criticised, demonstration.The reason for the criticism was the presence at the first demonstration not only of all the major union confederations (CGIL, CISL and UIL) but also Unindustria, the entrepreneurs’ organization, and Legacoop, the league of the cooperatives, known for its closeness to the Democratic Party (PD) and for its role in the management of the local economic system. This system is based on subcontracting, exploitation and very close working between the PD and CGIL. This was a demonstration which called for “responsibility” and for a pact between the business world, politicians and the workers.At the rally, held in Bologna’s central Piazza Maggiore, there were no more than 200 people, most of them pensioners, and around 30 protesters whose banner said “Unindustria go away! We don’t take our hats off in front of the bosses (“padroni”)”. There were some scuffles between the protesters and the meeting’s stewards and insults were thrown.Meanwhile, the other rally was leaving another Bologna square. Many struggles were represented: for the right to housing, students, for public schools, the logistics workers and more. In the past few days, Bologna has seen a rekindling of the logistics sector struggle, thanks to the workers at the milk company Granarolo’s warehouse. Together with other workers linked to the Si Cobas base union, they are blocking the warehouse in protest against their starvation wages: 700 euros for 40 hours a week. As always in this sector, these workers are not actually Granarolo employees as the warehouse is run by a complicated system of subcontracts and cooperatives. As many as three different cooperatives work in the same warehouse, in what Si Cobas calls “a jungle of contracts and subcontracts”. Granarolo is a profitable company but one of the warehouse cooperatives has cut workers’ wages by 35% “because of the crisis”. For the workers and the union, this is criminal behaviour. They demand that the company at the top of the chain should take responsibility for paying the workers.This year, the FIOM union (the metalworkers union affiliated to the CGIL) did not take part in the union confederations’ demonstration. They held their May Day demonstration in front of the Berco engineering factory in Ferrara, where more than 600 workers risk losing their jobs. Maurizio Landini, FIOM secretary, said, “May Day must remain Workers’ Day. We have 364 more days to converse with companies.”On April 30, the FIOM convention in Bologna brought together 2000 people, including many important individuals, such as the ex-CGIL secretary and PD member of the European Parliament, Sergio Cofferati, and ex-minister Fabrizio Barca (also a PD member). Stefano Rodotà, the presidential candidate put forward by the M5S and by many left-wing forces but blocked by the PD, the centre and right-wing parties, withdrew because of “personal problems”. In this meeting, many commentators saw the embryo of a new centre-left party, one further to the left than the PD.What happened in Bologna is far from isolated: similar events happened all over Italy, showing the depth of the rift between the union confederations and the base unions.

Source: eolopress.itSource: eolopress.it

Protests and violent clashes also occurred in Naples, near the City of Science, where the official May Day celebrations were taking place.Three members of the base union COBAS (Mimmo Mignano, Marco Cusano, and Antonio Montella) requested to be on stage and to speak alongside representatives of the other unions, CGIL, CISL and UIL but permission was not given.The three COBAS members presented themselves as unemployed, and demanded a more inclusive deal at regional level to protect unemployed and laid-off workers. Representatives from the FIAT plant in Pomigliano, protesting against health hazards at their workplace, were also prevented from speaking.In the afternoon, a march of several hundred people (including members of student collectives, organized unemployed people and squatters) demonstrated peacefully across the city. Clashes happened when, later in the evening, they reached the City of Science and tried to get on the main May Day stage. The concert was interrupted and police attacked the protesters.

Source: Corriere.itSource: Corriere.it

In Turin, members of the PD taking part in the annual May Day rally were constantly booed and police had to protect them from eggs thrown by other demonstrators. The PD was criticized mainly for its participation in the “inciucio” (sticky mess), the dubious deals leading to the formation of a new cabinet. “A van and a banner isn’t enough – the sticky mess is there and we can smell it,” people shouted in Piazza Castello. Piero Fassino (Mayor of Turin, and a prominent member of the party) gave a brief speech to the accompaniment of whistles and boos. Soon after the official representatives of the PD and the three main unions left the stage, members of collectives occupied the stage wearing the iconic Guy Fawkes masks. After the rally, another march was formed, heading to the central station. Hundreds of refugees currently occupying the former Olympic village attended the demonstration and took the train back to the three buildings they are occupying.Sourcestext [it] La Nuova ferrara

text [it] Il fatto quotidiano

text [it] Il fatto quotidiano

text [it] Corriere di Bologna

text [it] La Repubblica

text [it] Ansa.it

text [it] Infoaut.org

video [it] Il fatto quotidiano

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2 Responses to [en] May Day protests against union confederations

  1. Pingback: LabourNet Germany: Treffpunkt für Ungehorsame, mit und ohne Job, basisnah, gesellschaftskritisch » Viel Gewerkschaftskritisches am 1. Mai

  2. Pingback: [en] Confederated unions and industrialists sign anti-strike agreement | Struggles in Italy

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