Italian court orders release of Piacenza trade unionists from house arrest 

As persecution of trade unionists and activists continues in Italy, trade unions and other progressive sections are organizing militant struggles against the exploitation of the working class

August 08, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Release of trade unionists - Italy
Trade unionists: Aldo, Bruno, Arafat and Carlo. (L-R) (Photo via Si Cobas)

On Friday, August 5, the court of review in Bologna ordered the release of six trade unionists, belonging to the USB and Si Cobas unions, who were arrested under the orders of the Piacenza Prosecutor’s Office on July 19. The arrest of eight trade unionists last month for organizing strikes and other union activities in the logistics sector had sparked widespread protests across Italy. The unionists released on Friday are obliged to report to the authorities three times a week. 

Trade unions and other progressive sections expressed satisfaction over the release of the unionists but denounced the continuing attempts to persecute trade unionists and activists. On August 3, hundreds of trade unionists from Si Cobas and USB marched in the city of Bologna in solidarity with the persecuted trade union leaders. Working class sections in Greece, Germany, and other countries have also expressed solidarity with the fighting trade unionists of Italy.

On July 19, eight trade unionists were put under house arrest on the orders of the Piacenza Prosecutor’s Office. They are accused of organizing strikes and disrupting work at warehouses of multinational logistics companies. Earlier, trade unionists and workers were also subjected to police repression for protesting against poor working conditions in logistics warehouses.

Last week, complaints were registered against activists of the Castelli Ecologista Network for protesting against the Rome Mayor’s plan to construct a massive waste-to-energy plant in the city without proper consultations. Recently, activists from the Askatasuna Social Center also have been indicted for their ‘criminal links’ to the No TAV movement which leads the protest against the Turin-Lyon high-speed/high-capacity railway project in the Susa Valley. Several activists from the No TAV movement have already been subjected to arrests and other modes of persecution by the state.

Responding to accusations, the No TAV movement said that “the real criminals in this story are not us, but those who are bringing the planet to collapse, who are continuing to foment wars in the world to fill their own pockets, who destroy territories for two pennies and a seat, they carry on devastating production systems for the earth and the people.”

On August 3, the Communist Youth Front (FGC) stated that “these serious intimidations are part of the process of repressive attack on worker and social struggles that have been mobilizing more against capitalist management and anti-popular policies in recent months.”

“We express our solidarity with comrades affected by these measures. Repression won’t stop the fight!” added the FGC.

On August 4, Si Cobas stated that “the state and those institutions that systematically favor or tolerate the violence of the masters, cannot tolerate in any way the uncomfortable presence of a union that in 10 years has managed to fight back the corporate exploitation.” 

“The daily reality of the capitalist crisis reveals —  in all its cruelty and brutality — what are the real stakes and what are the objectives of the concentrated attack carried out these years by the masters and by some prosecutors against SI Cobas,” added the union.