CALL FOR SUPPORT TO XPO WORKERS’ STRUGGLE AGAINST DISMISSALS OF TWO SHOP STEEWARDS AT
XPO PONTENURE (PIACENZA, ITALY)
our union SI Cobas organizes XPO workers in 5 warehouses in the region around Milan.
In the Pontenure (Piacenza) warehouse SI Cobas has reached 125 members out of 160 workers, thanks to its struggles for workers’ rights, and is presently demanding the application of higher wage levels to most workers, according to their assignments as provided in the binding national collective agreement for logistic workers.
The response of XPO was the dismissal of two SI Cobas shop stewards (out of four), Ahmed Youness and Fulvio Salvatore, under the pretext that they have exchanged insults, outside the warehouse, with a CGIL operator (CGIL is a company-friendly official union).
Ahmed was employed directly by XPO, while Fulvio was hired by Confezioni Sarmatesi, a company in the form of a fake “cooperative”, to which XPO has contracted
out most of the warehouse work.
Confezioni Sarmatesi is part of the San Martino group of fake cooperatives, which in 2015 dismissed 25 SI Cobas members because of a strike at the Ikea hub in Piacenza.
XPO bosses in Italy have admitted that the SI Cobas-busting line has been decided at the XPO headquarters in the U.S.
After the first strikes for their reinstatement by their fellow workers at Pontenure, the two dismissed shop stewards have been offered new jobs in other plants, plus €25,000 as golden handshake, but they have refused, because this would mean dismantling the union in the workplace.
On Friday 22 June SI Cobas has organized picket lines at two XPO warehouses near Milan, at Trezzo d’Adda (packed food products) and Trezzano sul Naviglio (fresh food), blocking trucks for 8 hours at each site, with the participation of XPO workers and supporters.
On Thursday June 28 workers at both XPO warehouses near Piacenza (Pontenure and LeMose) struck, and on Friday June 29 it was again the turn of Trezzo Adda and Trezzano s/n. It is clear that XPO is willing to support heavy losses for its anti-SI Cobas policy.
The fight will continue until the shop stewards are reinstated (a legal procedure has been undertaken, but it will take months or years for a reinstatement order to be enforced, also because many companies, like Fca, prefer to pay the workers to stay at home and don’t let them in.
This struggle is connected to a wider struggle, as SI Cobas is engaged in a dispute to improve the national collective agreement signed by the official unions last January, which worsens working conditions under many respect s(less or no pay for overtime work, more work and less pay for truck drivers, more flexibility, discounts for newly hired workers, etc.).
SI Cobas with an allied union, ADL Cobas, has already won improved conditions from an employers’ association, Fedit, which includes major logistic groups in Italy (TNT, now FedEx, GLS, DHL, SDA, BRT), after 5 national strikes.
They now demand a negotiation with the broader association of transport companies, Confetra, which has delegated the XPO top management to represent it.
The dismissal of the two shop stewards, in implicit support to CGIL, is therefore also an attempt to sit at the negotiating table with a gun pointed at the unions.
For these reason we call for all unions to support the struggle of XPO workers in Italy with sit-ins demonstrations or other initiative at XPO warehouses or offices in their countries, demanding the reinstatement of Ahmed and Salvatore.
SI Cobas Executive Committee