Workers' conditions and struggles


The strikes over previous months involving workers of the Port of Istanbul have extended to the neighbouring naval dockyards of Tuzla. At those enterprises the struggle has also had the objective of putting an end to what is a real nightmare caused by unsustainable rhythms of work in conditions of total insecurity. On 14th of June hundreds of strikers, with the support of thousands of other workers and many political militants, demonstrated in front of the naval dockyards. The situation they are struggling against is unacceptable, only in recent months in the Tuzla district have 25 people been killed in various incidents at work. Last May two workers died in the space of a single week. The struggle for competiveness in a market in profound crisis has led the naval dockyards to subcontract much of the labour force from other companies, and they in turn impose a criminal level of suffering and working conditions. If one considers that today 45 000 workers from the Tuzla dockyards, almost 90% of the total, are workers from those companies, it is easy to comprehend the seriousness of the situation. The situation at the port of Istanbul is much more serious than the Italian counterpart, but even in our country the attempt to keep to a minimum the cost of labour power is causing an alarming increase in accidents at work, and for some time now we have witnessed the consequent hypocrisy of our native bourgeoisie.


800 employees from the automobile company Daimler, the largest in all Germany, went on strike last June in order to defend the current early retirement scheme. The workers, mainly employed in pressing, are extremely worried by the termination, set for 2009, of the public subsidy of the early retirement scheme. On the one hand it is only a limited action of two hours led by the IG Metall union, on the other, this strike has brought into the open one of the main conflicts of the current period: the crisis of the welfare system born after WW2. Often the Italian Left has taken up the German capitalist model in the management of industrial crisis; slogans like “less work but work for all” have been echoed for years. Today, faced with the aggravation of the structural crisis of the system it is ever more evident that there are no pain-free solutions to the contradictions of capitalism, not even in the historically social-democratic countries.