Italy: Solidarity with the Workers of Bormioli di Fidenza

On January 8, at the Bormioli[1] establishment in Fidenza (near Parma), the riot police attacked and dismantled the “presidio”[2] set up by warehouse workers[3] belonging to the rank and file union S.I.Cobas[4] and their supporters. They are fighting the agreement signed between the company and the main unions, the CGIL and CISL over the new contract between Bormioli and the cooperative[5] (CAL) that it has set up to run the logistics side of the company.

After the Christmas holidays the workers set up their “presidio” outside the gates of Bormioli, because they rejected the new agreement, which was seen as worsening their conditions with cuts in increments due for length of service and sickness benefits. Moreover they fear that, in practice, it will lead to job cuts.

Once again, the logistics/warehouse workers, together with their supporters, are one of the few sectors[6] to show some sign of life as far as the class struggle goes. That’s why they were attacked by the forces of bourgeois order, dragged to the police station and charged. This is yet another confirmation that at this stage of the deep crisis of capitalism, the bosses cannot tolerate any resistance from the class, even when unfortunately, it comes only from numerically small sectors[7] and on the basis of defensive “trade union” demands. They thus bring down all the might of the state[8] to crush the slightest sign of struggle that might hold up the process of production and the normal extortion of surplus value, i.e. the exploitation of the workforce. This exploitation has indeed intensified to cope with the increasingly fierce competition between capitalists.

It is also one more confirmation that the incompatibility of interests between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is most dramatically revealed in times of crisis: Either we put one over them or they put one over us. There is no room for "agreements" where we can supposedly accept a so-called “lesser evil” that makes working conditions and the life of the proletariat more bearable. These "small" acts of repression – a similar incident also happened in Desenzano del Garda[9] – act as a warning from the bosses against the feared revival of further episodes of class struggle.

To the workers in struggle, to their supporters, we send our class solidarity.

Il Partito Comunista Internazionalista (Battaglia Comunista)

9 January 2016

[1] Originally (and still largely) a glass making firm it has now moved into supplying all kinds of household goods. Its main source of finance seems to be British venture capitalist outfit.

[2] A sort of sit-down protest located at the main gates of firms where workers can address those entering the establishment.

[3] “Facchini” traditionally translates as “porter” in English but under modern conditions they include all the jobs as “pickers”, “packers”, despatchers etc associated with the warehouse trade. See for more details.

[4] The latest in a long line of rank and file unions in Italy who have broken with the traditional unions only to eventually succumb to the same diseases of bureaucratism and acceptance of the norms of negotiating with the capitalist order. S.I.COBAS (the full name is Sindacato Intercategoriale Comitati di Basi or Cross-category Rank and File Union) is though, for the moment, still an “anti-union” union or what we might call a “struggle organisation” and is almost exclusively found in the logistics sector where it has been involved in many strikes over the last few years.

[5] This is another racket repeated by many firms all over Italy. A cooperative sounds almost socialist to English-speakers but these are in fact set up to brutally exploit mainly migrant workers (over 10% of the Italian workforce is now made of migrants and most are found in the logistics sector). These so-called cooperatives are run by mafiosi (in some cases in the real sense of the word) who subject them to a rule of terror.

[6] The struggles in this sector have been hard and the workers have carried them out with determination to the point of getting violently attacked by the police on many occasions but whilst some migrant workers in other areas have shown solidarity there have sadly and worryingly been no solidarity strikes or even well-attended demonstrations to show solidarity from the rest of the Italian working class.

[7] The workers are supported by their “solidali” (supporters) who are mainly young political militants of what is called the “movement” in Italy (in the UK “activists”) of the radical reformist political left but even with their support demonstrations rarely reaches a thousand in major cities like Bologna.

[8] The workers are doing nothing illegal in picketing factories or going on strike but the bosses call the police who evict them, arrest, hold them, fingerprint them and prosecute them all with the support of the local bigwigs like the Mayor of the relevant council. It demonstrates that the right to strike is only a right on paper when it goes beyond a ritual.

[9] Near Brescia in Northern Italy but in fact there have been many more attacks on the “facchini” across Italy in recent years. These two have just come in the last few days. See

Footnotes by CWO.

Monday, January 11, 2016


Best wishes to the warehouse workers in struggle. I worked for a while in a small firm which stored paperwork for various companies, and got used to carrying cartons of them up and down ladders and into and out of vans.

Thanks for telling us about this leftcom.

All struggle is commendable these days when there's so little, and even if it stays fairly "defensive" it must surely be better than doing nothing? We have to start somewhere. And that so many of these workers are migrant and thus open to even nastier repression than domestic workers is something we should note, admire and respect.

The physical benefits of working in circumstances similar to those experienced by the "facchini" laid out by T 34 above - the daily excercise up and down ladders and so on - hardly compensates I suspect for the sheer drudgery and exhaustion of it all, to say nothing of the lousy pay, fear of job loss or being forceably repatriated in the case of migrants, which constantly hangs over these guys like Damocles sword.