Marcello Malentacchi, General Secretary from 1989 to 2009 of the International Metalworkers’ Federation, a founding organization of IndustriALL Global Union, died on 24 May 2013 at the age of 66. He died of natural causes while cycling, one of his many passions in life, near to his birthplace in Tuscany, Italy.
Marcello was a great, devoted and combative trade unionist who served the metal workers at local, national and global levels for more than 40 years, promoting solidarity and trade union values of social justice during decades of major changes in the world economy and politics.
Inspiring a generation of trade unionists around the world, Marcello was a man of intelligence, culture and intuition who, working in six languages, responded actively and strategically to the many attacks on local and global rights and the dignity of labour, believing collective bargaining and strong independent unions were an essential part of society.
In retirement, Marcello was pursuing his many interests, including following world politics, returning to the classroom as both a student and teacher, reading widely, travelling and enjoying family and friends and cycling.
Throughout his life, Marcello never forgot the shop floor and working life where he came from. Born in 1947 in Grosseto, Italy, his father was an agricultural labourer and an active Italian Socialist. After leaving the village school, like many young Italian workers in an economy with few jobs, at the age of 17 he immigrated to Sweden.
In Sweden he began working at the Volvo Torslanda auto assembly plant in Gothenburg in 1965. Very soon he became active in the trade union. Marcello was hired as Svenska Metall’s health and safety officer in 1974, and he was appointed to the IMF in 1981 to work with health and safety matters. Marcello was elected IMF General Secretary in 1989 and held that post until his retirement in 2009.
Marcello will be remembered as a wonderfully warm and empathetic comrade.
IndustriALL Global Union extends its deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to Marcello’s wife, Joséphine, daughters, Christina and Sandra, and his extended family in these terribly difficult times of grief.
A memorial will take place in Messery, France near Geneva on 17 June.