Following on from recent occupations, strikes and demonstrations by health workers in Milan, workers at San Raffaele Hospital block traffic on a major ringroad to protest against planned redundancies.
On the morning of Monday, 5 November, hundreds of workers from San Raffaele Hospital in Milan held a demonstration along the city's major ringroad, blocking traffic in both directions for about an hour. The demonstration had been called during a workers' assembly held outside the hospital earlier that same morning.
Workers are currently picketing the hospital 24 hours a day, and have done so since last Thursday (1 November), following the announcement by hospital management of 244 redundancies. This is part of management's plan to save money after €1 billion were found missing from the hospital's budget in July 2011.
Though many newspapers talk about the supposed 'high pay' of workers at San Raffaele, financial mismanagement and corruption were the primary causes of this problem. Recently, Pierangelo Daccò, a wealthy entrepreneur with close ties to the right-wing religious group 'Communione Liberazione', was sentenced to ten years in prison for his part in leading the hospital to bankruptcy. (For further news about the financial background look the sources)
The hospital administration has also declared the redundancies of over 200 workers a good result, as originally they had planned to let go 450. Additionally, they blame the unions for refusing to accept management proposals on cuts to employee benefits, which had been won in collective bargaining with the previous hospital administration.
However, not only has the new administration announced these redundancies, but they have also decreased pay, increased the workload and generally got rid of rights for those workers fortunate enough to keep their jobs.
Militancy across Milan's health sector
Hospital struggles have not been confined to San Raffaele, however. On Tuesday, 30 October, over 50 precarious workers at San Paolo Hospital occupied the director's office, protesting their own supposed redundancies. Eventually, the police were called to intervene.
This came only one week after an eight-hour strike and demonstration organised San Raffaele workers but was joined by workers from several hospitals and healthcare facilities in and around Milan.
Over 1,200 workers participated in the demonstration, which called for the resignation of Regional President Roberto Formigoni, who is personally implicated in the crisis at San Raffaele through his dealings with Daccò, while three thousand workers are also said to have taken part in the strike.
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Photos by USI/AIT
video - Corriere Nazionale