Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1078/30436
From The Socialist newspaper, 18 March 2020
'Health not profit' strike wave sweeps Italy
Novel coronavirus Covid-19, photo by NIH/CC (Click to enlarge)
Italy is in lockdown in the fight against coronavirus. Bars, restaurants and shops are closed, with the exception of supermarkets, pharmacies and newsagents.
And yet, under pressure from the bosses' organisation Confindustria, workers are still expected to go to work elsewhere, often on overcrowded public transport. It is a clear case of putting profit before health.
But workers have responded with a rash of spontaneous strikes across Italy. At Fiat in Pomigliano, Toyota in Bologna, the shipyards in Liguria, and numerous other factories and workplaces, workers have taken strike action over health and safety.
In some cases, there has been a lack of protective equipment - such as at the Ilva steelworks in Puglia where workers are striking for ten days. In others, health and safety measures have not been implemented at all or have been totally inadequate.
The head of Confindustria in Lombardy has called the strikes "irresponsible" and accused workers of "exploiting" the coronavirus! However, action from below has forced the government to draw up a safety protocol together with the three main trade union federations.
But on its own this will not be enough. "What applies in the street must apply in the factory," has been one of the slogans of the strike wave.
Only workers in essential sectors should be expected to work, and the trade unions should be involved in decisions about what constitutes essential work. All workers at home should be on full pay.
Workers will need to continue to organise on the ground in the factories and workplaces, and strike if necessary, to make sure the bosses adhere to the protocol.
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.
In The Socialist 18 March 2020:
Workplace news and analysis
Stop Press: postal workers deliver massive strike vote and offer to become additional 'emergency service'
East London bin workers strike to get back unpaid holiday pay
Determined St Mungo's homelessness workers strike for three days
International socialist news and analysis
French local elections: CWI candidate elected
New pamphlet: constituent assemblies and the revolutionary programme
South Africa: 60 years marking the Sharpeville Massacre
Coronavirus: workers must not pay the price!
Capitalist crisis and corona: Johnson's budget for the bosses
Coronavirus - a workers charter 2020
Coronavirus: socialist planning, not capitalist chaos!
Coronavirus housing emergency - suspend rent and mortgage payments, seize empty homes
PCS union demands better deal for benefits claimants
Councils must break austerity rules
Action needed to protect shop workers and access to essential goods
Coronavirus hospital worker: amazing response from staff - but worst still to come
'Health not profit' strike wave sweeps Italy
United States: private healthcare exposed as Trump throws money at markets
Workers at Lewisham coronavirus hospital walk out after not being paid
Coronavirus - waste processing employers putting us at risk
Bexley bin workers strike over lack of hand sanitiser
Going viral: socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis
Under the microscope: socialist coronavirus news in brief
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Help us fund the Socialist
Stop gentrification of Lea Bridge
Tory student plot defeated at Cardiff uni
Nottingham uni occupation ends
Socialist Students speaking tour
Selling the Socialist
TV: Noughts and Crosses
The Socialist 18 March 2020 |
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