Ditching the Fear: The logistics workers’ movement in Italy

Ditching the Fear, a recent (80 minutes long) film looking at the activities of the Italian base union SI Cobas and its involvement in warehouse workers struggles there, is now available to view online at labournet.tv. It’s a great look at people in crappy working conditions, how they fight back together, and how starting from people’s real work and lives immediately means coming up against questions like gendered harassment, instability tied to immigration status, and confrontations with the cops. Highly recommended. In the film-makers’ own words:

Since 2008 in northern Italy, unusual things have been happening. Companies, the polical class and the media are using the onset of the crisis to further undermine workers’ rights, which have been, up until now, crushed. On the other side, a lively and strong resistance has been forming at the bottom end of the wage scale.

Of all people, it is the precarious and largely migrant workers in the logistics sector who have, through solidarity and effective organising, been successful in overcoming their isolation and degrading working conditions. A struggle that hasn’t just changed their working conditions but has changed their whole lives.

“I’d been talking with the girls since 2012 because I came to know about this union called SI Cobas. But there has been a lot of fear because they put you in a condition of servility, you are enslaved to the point that you can’t even say ‘a’. You don’t say anything, you work item after item after item… So I’d been speaking with the girls since 2012 and I don’t know how it happened. It was good luck.” (Yoox Worker, from the film)

 

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About nothingiseverlost

"The impulse to fight against work and management is immediately collective. As we fight against the conditions of our own lives, we see that other people are doing the same. To get anywhere we have to fight side by side. We begin to break down the divisions between us and prejudices, hierarchies, and nationalisms begin to be undermined. As we build trust and solidarity, we grow more daring and combative. More becomes possible. We get more organized, more confident, more disruptive and more powerful."
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