TNT/FEDEX ATTACKS WORKERS IN ITALY AND SI COBAS, THEIR UNION
CALL FOR SOLIDARITY
Workers are on strike at most of the main TNT/FEDEX warehouses in Italy, following the dismissal of 66 temporary workers -“supplied” by the Adecco temp agency – who have been working at the Peschiera Borromeo warehouse
(near Milan) for 5 years, and whom TNT/FEDEX had agreed to hire as permanent staff starting May 1, 2020.
As in other warehouses across Italy, workers organised with the SI Cobas union responded to the danger caused by the pandemic by abstaining from work until safe working conditions were implemented, and on April 30-May 1 they took part to a national strike against the governmental policy that set strict regulations on individuals’ mobility, while setting loose regulations for workplace safety, with no penalties for non-complying companies.
Thousands of companies were allowed to re-open on the basis of a self-statement that they were “essential”. In industrial areas the outbreak has been much larger than in the rest of the country, with many casualties among factory and warehouse workers, besides healthcare workers.
On MayDay also the 66 temps working at the Peschiera Borromeo warehouse joined the strike of permanent TNT/FEDEX workers.
The company responded saying it did not need any more the labour of the 66 workers because of the coronavirus crisis, and would not comply with the agreement. The 66 workers were therefore left jobless.
All the other permanent workers of TNT/FEDEX Peschiera Borromeo, starting Sunday night, May 2nd, struck in solidarity with the 66 fellow workers, with whom they have been sharing work for 5 years, and occupied the warehouse.
Other warehouses struck in their support, and for furloughed workers to be paid full pay in advance, without waiting for the social security institute (INPS) check and to obtain a workplace safety agreement through the union to reduce the risks of contamination from Covid-19, as signed with several other companies.
There was an easy solution to the labor dispute: hiring the 66 workers as agreed, and putting part of the exceeding personnel in “Cassa Integrazione”, i.e. on paid leave – paid by INPS, according to the governmental provisions to face
the crisis followed to the pandemic.
But the response of the company was a declaration of war on the workers and their union. FedEx, the U.S. parent company of TNT, took over the management of the dispute, with the purpose to destroy the militant union SI Cobas.
FedEx must have some special relationship with the Italian government, because the Interior Ministry sent 180 policemen and Carabinieri to clear the Peschiera Borromeo warehouse from the strikers [http://sicobas.org/2020/05/05/italia-fedex-tnt-le-forze-dellordine-sgomberano-i-lavoratori-in-sciopero-ecco-la-fase-2-tra-licenziamenti-e-repressione/].
Workers at most TNT/FEDEX warehouses in Italy, including Turin, Brescia, Piacenza, Bologna, Rome and Naples have gone on strike last week, paralizing most TNT/FEDEX activity in the whole country, according to the SI Cobas motto: “Toccano uno, toccano tutti”(“An injury to one is an injury to all”), but the U.S. FedEx bosses prefer to lose millions than come to an agreement with SI Cobas.
The company also aims at using the struggle as a pretext to carry out a drastic restructuring, with closure of less profitable businesses and warehouses.
Workers have gone back to work on Monday, May 11 to prevent an imminent company lockout, but they are not going to abandon the struggle.
We call TNT/FEDEX and FedEx workers in all countries for solidarity actions with the struggle of TNT/FEDEX workers in Italy against dismissals, and against FedEx union-bashing.