Sunday, 9 January 2011

Waiting for the Democratic Drunkard

(Lorenzo [il Barone] Caleca, Legazzo #87)

[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - As Italy is going through a difficult time in its 150 years history as a united state (1), the Italian Democratic Party sways and staggers as a drunkard in the street.

In his speech for the New Year, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano appealed to the political system to grant a better future to the young people (2), whose unemployement rate reached 28.9% in November (3).

So far, the Democratic Party was not able to explain how to support students against cuts to University funds, crack down on tax evasion and invest to create new jobs in knowledge-based fields.

Besides, the Democratic Party is facing the struggle on worker rights between FIOM and FIAT lacking of any real political commitment to regulate social conflict, as politics is supposed to do in every democratic system (4).

In Turin, once FIAT's one-company town, the Democratic Party is approaching local elections amidst harsh internal fights and deep political turmoil (5), with both the outgoing mayor Sergio Chiamparino (6) and the most likely candidate to his succession Piero Fassino (7) siding with FIAT against FIOM.

Fearing the judgement of citizens and in spite of celebrating primary elections as the distinctive element of its character, the Democratic Party is now considering to escape them for the choice of its candidate as Prime Minister (8).

In a country where 45% of national income is held by 10% of the population (9) and where tax evasion reaches € 120 bn a year (10), the leader of the main opposition party should not limit himself to make a diagnosis of the problem (11).

While wating for Silvio Berlusconi's fall, Mr Bersani and his brothers in arms should clearly explain which project they have for the future of the country and whom they really want as their allies to come back to power.


(1) Eugenio Scalfari, "E la bandiera dei tre colori è sempre stata la più bella",, January 9th 2011.

(2) Massimo Giannini, "L'appello del Colle per la generazione tradita",, January 2nd 2011.

(3) "Giovani, disoccupazione record. In Italia uno su tre è senza lavoro",, January 8th 2011.

(4) Lucia Annunziata, "A Mirafiori Sinistra impreparata",, January 4th 2011.

(5) Giole Urso, "La strategia del PD per consegnare Torino al centrodestra",, November 29th 2010.

(6) Luca Telese, "'L'aut-aut sul referendum? Un atto di coraggio'",, January 7th 2011.

(7) "Fassino: se lavorassi alla FIAT voterei sì al referendum su Mirafiori",, December 29th 2011.

(8) Ilvo Diamanti, "Il Pd e il grande equivoco delle primarie. La scelta che cambia il futuro del partito",, January 3rd 2010.

(9) Massimo Salvadori, "Generazioni tradite",, January 6th 2011.

(10) Vincenzo Visco, "Manovra economica ed evasione fiscale",, May 28th 2010.

(11) Pier Luigi Bersani, "Bersani: lanciamo la sfida per la riscossa italiana", Il Messaggero (, January 7th 2010.


Sunday, 2 January 2011

Do Unions Still Represent Workers?

(bitchcakesny, Working Class Hero)

[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - The debate over rights of workers at FIAT burnt up this week.

Following separate deals with FIM-CISL and UILM - two of the main unions of Italian metalworkers - both in Mirafiori (Turin) and Pomigliano (Naples) workers will not choose their own representatives: unions refusing to sign a deal with the employer will indeed not be able to represent workers (1).

FIOM-CGIL - the most representative union of Italian metalworkers - refused to come to a pact with FIAT, claiming that rights are not available for negotiatons (2).

Admittedly, to grant jobs in Italy FIAT is in desperate need of increasing the productivity of work. In 2009, 6,100 workers in Tichy (Poland) were able to make 610,000 cars. Over the same period, in Mirafiori 5,800 workers made 178,000 cars (3).

But is it the price worthwhile for workers?

On the one hand, Tito Boeri explains, labour contracts must be binding and effective both for workers and employers; on the other hand, however, the right to choose the representatives of workers does not belong to the employer (4).

Moreover, as noticed by Stefano Rodotà, FIAT is a company and cannot behave as if it were a legislator (5): CISL and UIL actually look like mismatching democracy with a dictatoriship of the majority.

The truth, in our opinion, is that FIAT has chosen the American capital-centered paradigm once and for all: FIAT came to the rescue of Chrysler, but it looks as if Chrysler bought FIAT (6).

Government and politics were absent (7), while they might have helped FIAT to opt for the German human-centered paradigm.

Is the game lost?

As noticed by Luciano Gallino, FIOM-CGIL is still the main trade union of Italian metalworkers: in the future, its leading presence amongst FIAT suppliers may be decisive (8).


(1) Roberto Mania, "Con le newco del Lingotto arriva il Big Bang sindacale",, December 30th 2010.

(2) G. Pog., "La Fiom proclama uno sciopero di 8 ore",, December 30th 2010.

(3) In Pomigliano, the proportion came to a staggering 5,200 workers for 36,000 cars produced. Read Stefano Feltri, "FIAT, l'ultima spallata di Marchionne",, December 28th 2010.

(4) Tito Boeri, "Le regole dimenticate",, December 29th 2010.

(5) Stefano Rodotà, "Quando il fango cancella la politica",, December 29th 2010.

(6) Massimo Giannini, "Sistema Marchionne",, December 30th 2010.

(7) Salvatore Tropea, "Il lavoro può attendere",, November 6th 2010.

(8) Luciano Gallino, "L'America a Torino",, December 24th 2010.

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