Port workers in Italy demand wage hike, safer jobs, and an end to fueling the war in Ukraine

Port workers, along with trade unionists from other sectors, have been resisting the transfer of arms and ammunition destined for imperialist wars through Italian ports and airstrips

February 27, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Mobilization at the port of Genoa on February 25, 2023. (Photo: via Potere al Popolo)

On Saturday, February 25, trade unions in Italy observed a nationwide maritime port strike demanding safety and security for port workers, increase in wages, and an end to the transfer of arms and ammunition for imperialist wars through Italian ports. On the call given by Unione Sindacale di Base (USB) and the Autonomous Collective of Port Workers (CALP), a demonstration was held at the port of Genoa titled ‘Guns Down, Wages Up!’ to protest against the complicity of the Italian government led by Giorgia Meloni in the war efforts in Ukraine and the transfer of arms through the port of Genoa. On the same day, anti-imperialist sections—including left-wing parties such as Potere al Popolo—hit the streets in major cities across the country denouncing the ongoing war in Ukraine and calling for ‘negotiations instead of escalation’.

The port workers of Genoa have been resisting the use of Italian ports to supply arms to imperialist conflicts in Ukraine and Yemen. Workers of the Pisa airport had earlier protested against arms delivery to Ukraine in the cover of humanitarian aid. Port workers are currently also agitated due to the death of workers in the ports of Trieste and Civitavecchia in Rome, and have been demanding that authorities ensure the safety of port workers. Workers are also demanding an increase in wages at par with inflation to cope with the ongoing cost of living crisis. 

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Cadres of the Communist Youth Front (FGC) at an anti-war protest on February 25, 2023. (Photo: via FGC)

A petition by USB Ports Coordination to the Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility (MIMS) has demanded safety measures in ports, adjustment of wages in relation to the real rate of inflation, trade union representation and democracy in port management, and a return to public management of ports. It has also opposed all trafficking of arms and military vehicles through civilian ports.

In its statement on Saturday, the CALP said that “As workers of the Port of Genoa, we have been campaigning for years against arms trafficking in the Port of Genoa,” which has also “led us to block several times the ships that carried weapons to the war fronts that abound on the territory and which, unfortunately, are expanding.”

“On February 25, we were also joined by demonstrations that took place from Sicily to Niscemi, all the way to Sardinia with a demonstration in Cagliari, to Berlin, London, and Paris where international pacifist associations decided to join a fight that must be international and internationalist,” the collective added.

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Activists from Potere al Popolo in Genoa. (Photo: via Potere al Popolo)

Potere al Popolo stated on Sunday, “We demand that the billions planned in increase in military spending be used to improve services of our country and for the ecological conversion of the economy; we demand a minimum wage of at least 10 euros (USD 10.56) per hour; we want to work less, work better and build a fairer future for all of us.”