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Italian metalworkers strike for sustainable industry

4 November, 2019Members of IndustriALL Global Union’s Italian metal sector affiliates, FIOM-CGIL, FIM-CISL and UILM-UL, put down their tools for two hours on 31 October to hold workplace assemblies demanding urgent policies for a sustainable industrial future.

The strike, which took place at sites throughout Italy, comes at a time of great uncertainty about the future of the metal industry in Italy given decreasing industrial production, declining wages, and a growing number of accidents and deaths at work. Core demands include: ending the industrial and employment crises; reviving economic and social growth; restarting investments; increasing wages; respecting fundamental workers’ rights; involving workers in decision-making over the creation of new jobs; sharing the benefits of productivity increases stemming from new technologies; reforming social safety nets; and pushing for improvements in health protection and safety at work.

“Metalworkers are aware of their overall responsibility for the industry and the country and want to be protagonists in the great technological and ecological changes necessary to safeguard life and employment of those who work,” reads the joint statement of the unions FIOM, FIM and UILM.

They see the strike and mobilization as a necessary measure to pressure employers, the government and parliament to act as industry suffers in Italy. The unions said:

“There are currently 160 enterprises in crisis in the country with no solution in sight. It is necessary that companies and labour problems return to the centre of the political agenda through public and private investments aimed at relaunching economic and social growth and safeguarding employment and protecting health and safety.”

The joint statement further reads:

“In Italy we are witnessing an unbearable situation: the use of social safety nets is growing, announcements of closures of entire factories in all sectors from household appliances to the steel industry, automotive industry, electronics, information technology and installations. Restructuring processes too often guarantee profitability to companies while shifting the costs on workers. At the same time, work-related injuries and deaths increase. This situation is no longer acceptable.”

IndustriALL Global Union and IndustriAll European Trade Union sent a joint solidarity message to FIM-CISL, FIOM-CGIL and UILM before the strike and said:

“We fully support your struggle to increase employment through public and private investment in strategic sectors, generating quality jobs in an environmentally sustainable fashion.”

The unions Fim, Fiom and Uilm announced that this mobilization will continue with a national assembly of metalworkers on 20 November in Rome.