The far-right League (Lega) has called on the Emilia Romagna Region authorities to outlaw SI Cobas, a base union active in the country's warehouses and which often organises among immigrant workers.
The League, filed a question to the Emilia Romagna Region on March 27 asking that the SI Cobas union be outlawed. As supporters of the League write, “The Si Cobas strategy” is “to creep into companies deemed solid–through the relationship with fellow workers employed in cooperatives by intercepting those workers that are culturally weaker among them (almost all foreigners)–that could be potential members” and “proselytise them and then seize upon a specious union dispute to open a state of agitation and proclaim strikes”. In other words: we do the job of the union. And what is worse, we are almost all foreign workers!
The attack of the League is also directed towards “movements and civic lists of the radical left” that are in solidarity with our struggles “to the point of having authoritative representatives considered as spokesmen among them”. To worry the Lega and Montanini perhaps there is also the long list of supporters to the appeal for the full acquittal of Aldo Milani, signed by important jurists, lawyers, exponents from academia, culture and entertainment.
A few days later, with the same motivations, Antonio Montanini – an irrelevant municipal councilor in his own right, but representing specific economic interests in the region – presented a motion at the Municipality of Modena calling for the resignation of the congressperson Mrs Stefania Ascari from the anti-mafia commission, guilty of having been in favour of negotiations at the Ministry of Labor on the Italpizza’s union litigation and for claiming to shed light on the murky Modena system governing tenders and outsourcing. In a perfect pre-election ballet with the League’s motivations, Montanini then ends up asking that the demonstration organized by the union in Modena be banned, a request that brings back the memory of the dark times preceding the Republic, in which only the corporate unions were allowed.
Leaving aside the unfounded, defamatory and racist accusations of the Lega-Montanini group, the obvious attempt is to initiate a scorched earth strategy against the union, suggesting to the institutional figures that the labor disputes in which we are involved are not resolved with negotiation, but with the use of forceful confrontation and recurring to the judiciary. What are these gentlemen afraid of? What interests do they represent? Why are they so concerned about the involvement of institutions in labor disputes?
The answer is written on the question’s premises: “In Emilia Romagna (…) many companies and public bodies have particular needs for flexibility in workplaces” and therefore must “apply, in part or in full, contracts for the workforce”. This is the central point of the Lega-Montani’s concerns: to maintain intact the system of exploitation on which outsourcing and tenders are currently based, to destroy the union that is obtaining increasing victories for the benefit of workers fighting it the most.
We consider the request to outlaw our union contrary to the constitutional order, and contrary to the most basic democratic principles–above all contrary to that of freedom of trade union association, enshrined in the Constitution–and we therefore define it, in no uncertain terms, subversive.
Tomorrow, Saturday 6 April, we will return to the streets of Modena to defend the right to strike, in defense of social struggles and against repression.
Even in the light of the very serious anti-democratic attack underway against our union, we renew the invitation to collectives, movements, unions, parties and committees of the territory to participate in the demonstration, keeping up the guard and not stepping back: United we win.
Modena, 05 April 2019
The SI Cobas Coordinations of Modena and Bologna