The union FIOM (the metalworkers’ federation) held a general strike on December 5 and 6 to protest against both the agreement’s merit and the fact of having a separate agreement signed by the sector’s right-wing unions excluding FIOM, the sector’s most representative union.
The union FIOM (the metalworkers’ federation affiated to CGIL) held an eight-hour general strike on December 5 (in Lombardy, Marche and Tuscany) and on December 6 (in all other regions of Italy) to protest against the separate agreement signed by the sector’s right-wing unions, FIM and UILM. FIOM is protesting against both the agreement’s merit (thought to be insufficient in protecting workers) and the fact of having separate negotiations which exclude the sector’s most representative union.
Regional and local rallies were organized in support of the strike on both days, involving unionized workers and their allies. Rallies were held in many places including Milan, Brescia, Ancona, Turin, Bologna, Palermo, Rome, Modena and Pisa. Once again, students and workers found common ground in protesting against austerity and lack of job security, in a continuation of the experience of the 14N strike.
In Milan, workers’ and students’ separate marches joined together symbolically beneath a common banner reading “Lavoro” (“Work”).
In Bologna, students symbolically occupied the top level of the Unicredit building (an important bank and financial corporation) and then proceeded to block the traffic at several important points.
In Pisa, students hung a banner from the Provincial building after a certain amount of tense confrontation with the police; they later occupied the train station, blocking the railroads.
In Modena, protesting students clashed with police in front of the local Confindustria building (the Italian association of industry owners).
In Turin, many thousands of people took part in the demonstration, with workers coming from across the region. A group of students took their place in the final section of the march and went on to occupy the Mole Antonelliana building (one of Turin’s most symbolic monuments and currently home to the National Museum of Cinema).
According to FIOM, the strike was very successful, with participation between 70% and 80% in many of the plants involved, and often much higher. Strong participation was recorded in Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Apulia. At the Berco plant in Imola (near Bologna) all workers downed tools. There was also high participation in several ILVA plants across Italy: 90% stopped work in the ILVA plant in Cuneo and 80% in the Alessandria plant. According to Mirco Rota, Regional Secretary of FIOM in Lombardy, these data show that FIOM is still overwhelmingly representative of the majority of workers, notwithstanding FIM and UIM’s attempts to promote separate and secretive negotiations.