On Thursday, December 16, Italian workers observed a general strike and organized massive mobilizations in the cities of Rome, Milan, Bari, Cagliari and Palermo. The call for the general strike was given by national trade unions – Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL) and Italian Labour Union (UIL) – to protest the 2022 budget plan of the Mario Draghi government for not meeting the expectations of the working class, particularly on tax cuts, pension reforms and preventing the manufacturing sector from shifting abroad. Progressive political sections, including Potere al Popolo (Power to the People), Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) and Communist Youth Front (FGC), among others, supported the strike and participated in the mobilizations.
In Italy, a country which was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, workers have been protesting for more than a year with continuous strikes and mobilizations across sectors against the neoliberal policies of the government led by Draghi and the attack on labor by employers. Trade unions are dissatisfied with the proposals in the 2022 budget and have called for protests demanding “an elaborate pension reforms by which pensions will accessible from the age of 62, a progressive tax reform in which high incomes pay more, as well as a national health service ‘that works’ and measures in the budget that reinforce social justice, distribute wealth and reduce the economic gap between the prosperous North and the impoverished South.”
While addressing the workers mobilization in Piazza del Popolo in Rome, CGIL general secretary Maurizio Landini said, “Today is not the end of a cycle of demonstrations: it is the beginning. We don’t give up on a real reform of pensions, taxes, overcoming precariousness, and job security. We’re not going to stop..”
Giuliano Granato from Potere al Popolo said that there should be a minimum wage of EUR 10 (11.24 USD) an hour and legislation to put a stop to relocations.
The FGC said that “the general strike has been an indispensable necessity for millions of workers for months, overwhelmed by the offensive of the master with layoffs, de-locations and cuts in wages and rights.”