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Italian metalworkers strike sends strong message to government

11 July, 2023Italian trade unions FIM-CISL, FIOM-CGIL and UILM held a national strike on 7 and 10 July, urging the government to take action to help the struggling manufacturing sector.

Italian metal unions FIM, FIOM and UILM are demanding a national strategy for a better future for key sectors where tens of thousands of jobs are at risk of being lost through downsizing, closure or relocation. This is the tragic situation in a cost-of-living crisis where at least half of working families are struggling. 

The Italian metalworkers’ unions said in a statement: 

“The strike action sent a strong signal to the government. They must now give us answers and quickly reconvene dialogue on the metal sectors and supply chains in difficulty. The government must clarify what industrial policies will be put into place and how much public investment will be attributed to protect the jobs, rights and wages. 

We are satisfied with the national strike. Work in the metal industry has always been central to the Italian economy and must become the driving force behind its future.”

The mobilisation took place against the backdrop of intensified efforts by the US and China to play an even more dominant role in global manufacturing and international trade. If Europe's industrial policy lags behind its competitors, Italy and the rest of Europe will lose jobs, wealth and strategic autonomy.

For years, Italy has seen its manufacturing base shrink considerably due to a lack of forward-looking industrial policy. In today's reality of environmental, digital, energy and technological transition, employment in the metalworking industry is clearly not on the government's agenda. This has led the country's three metalworkers' unions to raise awareness of the pressing needs of a sector that has been a mainstay of the Italian economy for generations. The four-hour strike by FIOM, FIM and UIL M on 7 July focused on:

  • Employment
  • Investment
  • Sustainable transition 
  • Resolution of urgent crises in several large companies
  • Loss of purchasing power and social conditions for workers in the manufacturing sector.

The unions point to the risk of a further deterioration in economic, industrial and social conditions, stressing the need to put the engineering industries back at the forefront of Italian politics. Moreover, the ecological and digital transition must be agreed with the workers through a fruitful social dialogue. 

  “IndustriALL stands in full support of our Italian affiliates. These are serious attacks on the Italian industrial model, the joint strike in the north and the south of Italy has sent a powerful unified message to the Italian government and will put the spotlight on the urgent need for action,”

says Atle Høie, IndustriALL general secretary.