National Sections of the L5I:

Europe fightback: Italy

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Industrial output in Italy fell 17.4 per cent in 2009. As a result, the official unemployment rate has reached 8.3 percent in January. But that was before Italy’s car giant Fiat laid off 30,000 people for two weeks. Further closures are forecast.

Italy’s public debt is the third highest in the world, behind the USA and Japan. This will trigger more attacks on public services and their workforces.

One-day protest strikes took place in Sicily and in Milan. But resistance is patchy, as is revealed by this extract from a letter to Turkey’s Tekel workers by Pierro Bernocchi, leader of the COBAS trade union.
“COBAS is participating in the preparations of the First March of Migrants, a day of struggle, strikes and protest, and in a general strike in the schools and education system on the 12 March.

All around Europe, and especially in Italy, workers, retired persons and young people are paying for the crisis caused by the economic and political power of the capitalists. At the beginning of the economic and social crisis, the Italian anti-cuts movement invented the slogan “We will not pay for your crisis”. But in the last year the opposite happened. We have seen the same story: capitalist owners of the world have paid nothing; workers, unemployed and poor people have paid more than ever before.

In Italy, there are three million unemployed workers. Hundreds and hundreds of factories are closing or moving production abroad. In the school system the government has cut 140,000 jobs. Meanwhile temporary employees (5 millions, all in all) risk being made jobless at any moment.

Also a large number of migrants (who also number around 5 million) work in conditions approaching slavery.

But Silvio Berlusconi’s government goes on cutting jobs, wages and public services (above all in education and health). And he carries out all of these destructive policies without any real opposition on the part of centre-left parties and trade unions allied to them, either in parliament or in society.”

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