Trade unions in Italy continue mobilizations against government’s labor policies, support to Ukraine war

Anti-fascist sections in Italy denounced Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent visit and protested the Giorgia Meloni-led government’s complicity in the war in Ukraine

May 16, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
15-05 Workers' protest - Italy
Mobilization in Milan. (Photo: via CGIL)

Mainstream trade unions in Italy, including the Italian General Confederation of Labor (CGIL), the Italian Confederation of Workers’ Trade Unions (CISL), and the Italian Labor Union (UIL), organized a major demonstration in Milan on Saturday, May 13. The unions denounced the economic policies of the right-wing government led by Giorgia Meloni, including proposed cuts to public services and social welfare programs, along with lack of investment in job creation. Cadres from various political groups including the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) also participated and expressed solidarity with workers. According to the unions, around 40,000 people participated in the demonstration. Earlier, on May 6, a major mobilization was held in Bologna. Another round of mobilization is scheduled in Naples on May 20. 

The working class in Italy, severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis, is also currently facing a cost of living crisis marked by high inflation rates (8.1% in March 2023).

Meanwhile, the Meloni-led government has resorted to anti-worker and anti-union policies and prioritized the war efforts in Ukraine. 

Progressive sections and anti-fascist groups in the country have slammed the recent visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Italy and his meeting with the Pope, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, and Meloni to ensure Italian support to Ukraine’s war efforts.

The Communist Youth Front (FGC) denounced Zelensky’s visit to Italy and stated that “he is a president who has put his country at the disposal of NATO, the USA, and the European Union (EU). Zelensky is being painted as a freedom paladin while leading an ultra-nationalist government that has discarded 14 political parties and transformed neo-fascist militias into regular armed forces.”

Antonello Patta from the Communist Refoundation Party stated at the mobilization in Milan that “in two years the average and low income families in Italy have lost 20% of their purchasing power. Unfair laws against the poor and workers are being made that reduce rights, and widen the plague of precariousness, exploitation, and unprotected poor working conditions. The right-wing government relaunches austerity that will produce new spending cuts in schools, health care, and services. With this government robbing workers and retirees to promote profits, incomes, and financial speculation, and with maximum profit-chasing corporations ignoring social issues, the only possible answer is a relaunch of a massive new fighting season.”