Italian metalworkers hold a successful national strike

21.04.2016

On 20 April, Italian metalworkers held a massive successful mobilization during a four-hour national strike across the country.

According to IndustriALL affiliates Fim, Fiom and Uilm the national average participation exceeded 75 per cent. In many factories and offices all activities remained completely blocked. Rallies and meetings were organized at almost 100 central squares all over Italy.

One the most successful mobilizations took place at Comer Industries (Reggio Emilia province) at the home company of current president of Federmeccanica (Italian Employers' Federation of Metalworking Industries). Some 90 per cent of 430 employees went on strike, and at GE Oil & Gas in Florence, the company where the current general director of the metalworking industry organization of employers comes from, 70 per cent went on strike.

The strike was a clear signal of support to the negotiations over renewal of the national contract for metalworkers. The unions believe it is now up to management to answer workers’ demands.

Marco Bentivoglio, general secretary of Fim, finishing the union rally in Naples said, "The number of participants in the strike disprove the predictions of President Federmeccanica, Fabio Storchi. The workers have realized that we need a change, we need a breakthrough agreement that does not leave anybody on the street. Federmeccanica had thrown us a challenge: today’s response is the strongest we could give. What the employers in metal industry should do is to to reopen the negotiations already tonight and to make a contract."

Maurizio Landini, general secretary of Fiom from the stage in Milan in front of Assolombarda (Industrial association of province of Milan) said, "This is the time for the country to restart the economy. The success of the strike shows how metalworkers want the renewal of the national contract, to which they have their right. Federmeccanica tomorrow must reopen the negotiations, I do not want to take responsibility for a conflict which now the country does not need."

Rocco Palombella, ending the rally in front of Reggio Emilia Industrial Union said, "Federmeccanica, change your contractual offer, start from wages, and call us as soon as possible to the negotiating table. It is unacceptable that the leaders of metalworkers employers propose to divide one million six hundred thousand workers in the industry with different offer and equally different payroll increases."

In his letter of support to the Italian metalworkers’ strike Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, said,

“IndustriALL Global Union fully supports your demands, which call on the employers’ associations Federmeccanica and Assistal, to reconsider a proposal that would deny to 95 percent of metalworkers a possible increase that is stipulated in the new agreement, it would limit bargaining only to the company or local level, and it would curtail the rights of temporary and subcontract workers.”