Piazza Vittorio was empty. With the exception of two elderly men, struggling to inflate what looked like an enormous stage prop. As I grew closer, its details came into focus. It was a fake boulder, with the word “Crisis” (Italian for “crisis,” shorthand for the economic crisis) written on it.
At the end of the square, a demonstration was in the process of formation. The sickle and hammer flag of the Partito della Rifondazione Comunista was everywhere, together with banners for CGIL, Italy’s largest, most important trade union. This was Turin’s edition of the European Day of Action and Solidarity anti-austerity protests planned for November 14th, 2012.
Several flyers were being distributed by the demonstrators, some more official looking than others. Souciant chose to photograph and translate those bearing the stamp of CGIL, as they articulate, more clearly than any of the other literature available that day, the concerns of those gathered to demonstrate.
ITALY – GENERAL STRIKE ON 14TH NOVEMBER, 2012
NO! TO ITALIAN GOVERNMENT AUSTERITY
The stability law proposed by Government cuts down the GDP growth and does not provide conditions for the creation of new jobs: it negatively affects inflation, incomes, consumption, investments and in particular, the purchasing power of salaries and pensions; it brings new elements of tax iniquity and a heavier tax burden; it further reduces public expenditure and services, it cuts down the funds for public health and local authorities, limiting once again their autonomy.
They say that the sacrifices made are producing results, but it’s not true. Once again, after pensions and job market, they are going to demand futher sacrifices to female and male workers and pensioners, while we are losing thousands of jobs in both the public and private sectors.
TURIN 2012: + 64 million hours paid with redundacy funds; + 25.000 workers in the availability lists; since January + 12.000 workers have been dismissed; in the private and public sectors we have already lost 2.000 jobs and further more are at risk: there are hundreds of unemployed too old to get a new job but too young to get a pension.
Unemployment and uncertainty are increasing, while job opportunities are diminishing. The answer of Government: further cutbacks in the public sector and no support for the industry jobs, services and cooperation.
The funds for development and for extraordinary redundancy payments are lacking, while the crisis is hitting more strongly; tens of Companies are closing, and from FIAT we just get promises and more blackmail.
WELFARE – HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
Public healthcare system: from 2012 to 2015, a cutback of 9,4 billion [is foreseen]. The healthcare system is collapsing because, since 2011, more than 30 billion Euros have been cut.
Jobs are being lost and answers are not given to people, who are compelled to pay more (if they can afford it) to get medical treatments, while chronically ill and non self-sufficient people are left alone, [dependent on their] families.
Further cutbacks [have been made] also to local authorities’ funds which, following the investment freeze derived from stability pact, don’t have enough resources, not even for essential investments: safety in schools, environment requalification and services effectiveness.
SALARIES AND PENSIONS
The paralysis of open ended-contracts in the public sector and schools, the “non-revaluation” of pensions ([that should be] thrice higher than the minimum) and the proposal to modify taxation reduces wages and pensions purchasing power.
They claim that they want to reduce tax rates, but the VAT increase and the intervention on deduction and tax allowance will compel us to pay more to workers and pensioners.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, with the stability law the Government, using the title “detaxation of productiviy salary,” is willing to dismantle national labour agreements and salary protections.
WE STRIKE AND DEMONSTRATE
- for new secure jobs in the public and private sectors, supported with public resources;
- for a public welfare and healthcare system able to meet peoples’ requirements;
- for collective national labour agreements renewal, and to defend salary and pension purchasing power;
- to request that the big estates pay, that incomes and financial transactions are taxed; to fight effectively money waste, privileges and tax evasion;
- for public schools of quality: let’s stop a further cutback of 1billion (total – 9 billion.)
- to fight inequality
CGIL TURIN [General confederation of Italian workers]
14TH OF NOVEMBER 2012
TOGETHER WITH EUROPEAN TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION
IN FAVOR OF EMPLOYMENT AND SOLIDARITY – NO TO AUSTERITY
AUSTERITY DOESN’T WORK!
For many years, the European trade union movement has been complaining about austerity measures. They drag Europe into economic stagnation and subsequently to recession. The result is the paralysis of growth and a constant increase in unemployment.
The cutbacks to salaries and social protections represents an attack on the social european model and deepens inequality and social injustice.
The “errors of judgement” of Internationl Monetary Fund (IMF) have had an enormous impact on European workers and everyday life. All this brings again into question the entire basis of austerity policies. The IMF must apologize. The “Troika” must review its requests.
Europe has a social debt, not only a financial one. It was promised a recovery that never happened.
25 millions of Europeans don’t have a job. In some countries, the youth unemployment rate is more than 50%. There is a widespread sense of injustice, and social unrest is increasing.
IT’S NECESSARY A CHANGE OF DIRECTION TOWARDS A EUROPEAN SOCIAL PACT
European trade unions ask for a change of direction. The applied measures are not working; on the contrary, they’re destroying our jobs and our social estate.
The ETUC [European Trade Union Confederation] asks for a social pact for Europe, with a real social dialogue, an economic policy favoring quality jobs, solidarity amongst countries, and social justice.
Workers are paying a high price for crisis and austerity measures, while financial world and speculators are getting richer.
Let’s put an end to fiscal fraud, to tax havens and to fiscal competition among countries. The tax on financial transactions must help to repair the damages of a capitalism with no rules.
FOR WORK AND SOLIDARITY
NO TO SOCIAL INEQUALITIES
- dismantling of social protections;
- increase of labour market flexibility;
- privatization of public services;
- downward pressure on salaries;
- the lowering of pensions;
- the deregulation of social standards;
- social exclusion
- increasing inequality
- the attack on collective negotiation and social dialogue.
- economic governance in service of sustainable growth and quality jobs;
- social and economic justice through redistribution policies, taxation and social protection;
- job guarantees for the young;
- an ambitious European industrial economy, focusing on green economy with low carbon emissions and on future-oriented sectors, with job opportunities and growth;
- a more intense struggle against social and salary dumping;
- sharing the debt through Eurobonds;
- the concrete application of a tax on financial transactions in order to distinguish speculation and support investment policies;
- the harmonization of fiscal basis with a minimum rate for European companies;
- a decisive effort to fight tax evasion and fraud;
- respect for collective negotiation and social dialogue;
- compliance with fundamental trade union and social rights.
CGIL [General confederation of Italian workers]- NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE
TURIN, DEMONSTRATION starting from P.zza Vittorio at 9.30 to P.zza Castello (Prefecture side).
Translated from the Italian by Giulia Pace. Introduction and photos by Joel Schalit.