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maandag 4 oktober 2021

#WORLD #WORLDWIDE #ITALY #ANARCHISM #News #Journal #Update - (en) alternativa libertaria fdca it: Reduction of hours (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

 "Finally, a time came when everything that men had considered as inalienable

became an object of exchange, of trafficking, and could be alienated; the time
when those same things that until then had been communicated but never bartered,
donated but never sold, acquired but never bought - virtue, love, opinion,
science, conscience, etc. - everything became commerce. ---- It is the time of
general corruption, of universal venality, or, to speak in terms of political
economy, the time in which every reality, moral and physical, which has become a
market value, is brought to the market to be appreciated at its right value "
(1847 Karl Marx. "Misery of Philosophy")
Reduction of hours
A single unitary and generalized struggle against dismissals
Only relations of power favorable to the working class can defend our living
conditions and be an element of further social advancements for the new
generations, for women and for all the subordinate classes.

Closure of factories, production sites and the related collective redundancies by
employers continue to add up, despite, or perhaps it would be better to say, due
to the "common notice" signed by the CGIL CISL and UIL trade unions with the
Government and employers' counterparts on 30 June last.

One of the most hateful cases was the dismissal of the 422 direct workers who,
together with the workers in the related industries, reached 500, which took
place via e-mail on July 9th, by the English Malrose Financial Fund, owner of the
GKN Driveline of Campi. Bisenzio, factory in the "automotive" sector .

To this closure and the collective dismissal was promptly added Gianetti Ruote di
Ceriano Laghetto with 152 direct workers, the German multinational of detergents
Henkel in Lomazzo, in the province of Como, with 81 workers, Abb, a Swedish
multinational, which produces electronic systems, which announced the closure of
the factory in Marostica, in the Vicenza area, which employs 60 workers,
Logistica Italia SpA in Bologna, which in harmony with the bosses of GKN, with a
mere message on Whatsapp, announced in the first days of August, the dismissal of
90 workers, to which the workers of those factories closed for some time must be
added, as in the case of the Whirpool in Naples, those of former Embracco in Riva
di Chieri and the thousand other disputes and closures that do not make news on

At the Ministry of Economic Development (Mise), 99 crisis tables are still open,
for the amount of 55,817 jobs at stake.

It is more than evident how the logic of the agreement with Confindustria, the
Presidency of the Council and the Ministry of Labor, yet another pursuit of
concerted practice by the most representative trade unions, in turn the daughter
of the worn and unsuccessful logic of the producers' pact, declined in the most
diverse co-management and collaborative formulas with the bosses, it is a simple
farce that does not protect and defend anything.

Only relations of power favorable to our class, to the working class, can defend
our living conditions and be an element of further social advancements for the
new generations, for women and for all subordinate classes.

Thinking of being able to bend the bosses' arrogance and government resistance,
as happened just before the agreement of 30 June, exclusively with three national
demonstrations and as many rallies, moreover almost exclusively participated by
the trade unions, can be described in the most benevolent, like an unrealistic
practice, when it concretely demonstrates itself and is totally resolved in a
collaborative and subordinate practice.

Renouncing to unify the struggles of the working masses, dividing category by
category or by single factory or production site, not identifying and fighting
for unifying objectives, a priori renouncing generalized and lasting struggles,
can only bring such results.

The contradiction and constant robbery of the capitalist economic system
certainly cannot be changed according to the more or less presence of the state
in the economy.

In the face of this situation, one of the most dramatic in which our class finds
itself in the last 50 years, there are those who are calling for a return of the
public hand, even in political and trade union sectors of the more or less
radical and self-defined antagonists. in industry, those who want
nationalizations, those who want a new industrial policy and those who say that
the only way is to return to the economic planning of Keynesian memory.

In reality, today's economic phase already actually sees a growing presence of
the public hand in the economy and a vast presence of public capital in the main

Let's see, albeit briefly, how the presence of the public hand has presented
itself in past and more recent history and above all with what results.

The Great Depression of 1929 and the Second World War prompted many governments
to take a more active role in the economic sphere.

In addition to telecommunications, postal services, airlines or railways,
governments have begun to focus on new sectors such as manufacturing.

An example of these new investments was IRI, our former Italian public economic
body with industrial policy functions which, although established in 1933, under
the Fascist regime, increased its sectors of intervention after the war until it
became, in the 1980s of the last century, a group of about 1000 companies; from
the major banks of national interest, such as Credito Italiano or Banco di Roma
to the Finsider steel industry, to mechanics with Fincantieri, to construction
and telecommunications with STET, to transport and mobility with Fimare,
Alitalia, Autosrade, including food sectors with SME and many other holdings.

Nonetheless, starting from the end of the 70s, what in the economic literature
are referred to as the "30 glorious years" (1945- 1973) and up to the 90s the
economic crisis, with the decline of the hefty profits made starting from the end
of the Second World War, politically coinciding with the advent of Margaret
Thatcher as British Prime Minister and Roland Reagan as President of the USA, a
pushed process of privatization of public companies has developed and affirmed.

Since then and until the early 2000s, privatizations have marked the European
economic context, considering state ownership as an obstacle that limited the
full efficiency of the markets.

Countries such as Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain or Sweden have
developed their own restructuring plans for public bodies and since 1993 the most
ambitious plans have been implemented through the Economic and Monetary Union,
introduced immediately after the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty. in 1992,
which, by setting the possible public deficit below 3% of GDP as a fundamental
condition for EU integration, favored and ideologically justified the wave of
massive privatizations. However, this huge global privatization process also hit
rock bottom due to the crisis that occurred in 2008.

This economic crisis has put an end to decades of privatization and has strongly
undermined the liberal ideological model which has been exceeded with the advent
of the current pandemic.

"I will not hesitate to use all the means available to protect the most important
French companies. We will achieve this through recapitalization, the acquisition
of shares, and I can also use the term nationalization if necessary ", (1) French
Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire said in March 2020.

Hungary and Poland have for years strengthened their public trading structures to
gain autonomy and weaken foreign ownership and despite the current narrative
about the idiosyncrasy of state intervention in private companies in the economy,
Germany andthe Merkel government, major economic powerhouse within the European
Union, last May he bailed out the airline Lufthansa with a commission of 9
billion euros in exchange for 20% of its shares.

The collapse of the European economy, shaped for more than twenty years by the
exaltation of "laissez-faire", the alleged new frontier of globalization and
ideological blanket of the world bourgeoisie, has given back to the state a
central role, also due to increased international competition , within which a
new protagonist such as China has always made its way, which precisely through
its economy of state capitalism, starting from the economic crisis of 2008, has
had better performances, such as to have, as many as 67 companies of state-owned
among the 69 Chinese companies present among the 500 most important companies in
the world (2014 data).

In the last 15 years, through nationalization, as in the case of the German
Commerzbank in 2009 or the Spanish Bankia in 2012, public companies are again and
heavily involved in Europe. Just a month after lowering member states' taxes to
alleviate the damage of the pandemic, in April 2020, the European Commission
changed the interim state aid framework to facilitate state intervention. Since
then, European governments have devoted a large sum of money to keep their
business sector afloat, mainly through tax breaks, allowances, loans and,
following recent Commission approval, share purchases.

Furthermore, many companies, unable to cope with the repayment of the amount
paid, have resorted to debt swaps in shares or expropriations in favor of
governments. For the time being, the temporary state aid framework will run until
December 2021.

In chronological order, if banks were the first companies to be nationalized
during the last economic crisis of 2008, today it's up to the airlines.

In addition to the aforementioned shareholding in Germany with the disbursement
of 9 billion euros to Lufthansa and 1.25 billion euros to TUI, the most important
and largest German tourism group, the European Commission has already approved in
Finland, with 286 millions to Finnair; in Latvia, with 250 million to airBaltic;
in Denmark and Sweden, with one billion euros between the two for SAS.

After supporting the recapitalization of Alitalia, Italy ultimately opted for the
creation of a new replacement public airline, Ita, which, in addition to
containing public capital, will lead to further reductions in former Alitalia

Meanwhile, France has financed Renault with 5 billion euros and 7 billion to Air
France. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire announced earlier this year that
"the worst is yet to come" and acknowledged that "2021 will see more failures
than 2020". (2)

All these readjustments are, in fact, creating a fair asymmetry of the individual
member states of the EU with respect to shares of the public economy, in
particular more evident in the energy sector: in 2014, state-owned companies
involved in the total Spanish power generation capacity accounted for 5%, ahead
only of Portugal.

The figure was 22% in Italy, 30% in Germany and 70% in France. Furthermore,
across the EU, each Member State owns at least one public enterprise, mainly in
the field of generation and transport of state, regional or provincial
electricity, with the sole exceptions of Spain and Portugal.

On the contrary, France owns most of the shares Areva (88.41%), the world leader
in nuclear power, and EDF (84.94%), the largest producer and distributor of
electricity in Europe.

This is also the case in Italy, which owns 69.17% of Enel Green Power, a world
leader in the production of renewable energy.

These economic diversities make and will render the project of the formation of a
European imperialist pole even more complicated and uneven, but they will not
have any repercussions or improvement in the conditions of the working masses,
who, precisely because of the foreseen and further economic competition between
the nation states, together to a planned and massive introduction of new
production technologies they will suffer greater fragmentation and precariousness.

The invariance of the capitalist economic system, which manifests itself through
the need for the extraction of surplus value and therefore for greater
exploitation of labor, certainly cannot be modified according to the more or less
presence of the State in the economy.

For a 30 hour work week

The struggle of male and female workers, of young unemployed people, of women and
of the new generations must be unified and widened.

Unity must become the watchword and practice of the class movement.

The same individual nation states are introducing trials for a short week and for
a substantial reduction in working hours.
Iceland tried the four day work week. Four years of testing, 2,500 employees
involved. A huge sample, if we consider that we are in Iceland: a country of 356
thousand inhabitants. Between 2015 and 2019, the national government and the
municipality of Rejkyavik, the capital, conducted various experiments over a
four-day, 35-36-hour work week, with no pay cuts.

The goal was to verify the impact of the reduction in working hours on employee
productivity and well-being. According to the director of research of the
research firm Autonomy, who analyzed the results together with the Association
for Sustainability and Democracy , the study was "an extraordinary success" .

The research covered various kinds of workplaces, such as kindergartens, offices,
social services and hospitals. The report concludes that productivity has
remained constant or even increased.

Employees reported less stress and more time to spend on family and hobbies. They
found improvements both in their health and in the balance between private and
professional life.

The test results allowed Icelandic trade unions to negotiate new contracts. "At
the time of publication of this document , " the report reads, "86% of Icelandic
employees have a contract that provides for shorter working hours than in the
past, or gives them the option to switch to shorter hours in the future. ".

Many other companies have also experienced or are experiencing the short work
week. Late last year Unilever, the giant of brands such as Lipton and Dove,
launched a program that allows New Zealand employees to work four days a week and
choose how to distribute their rest days.

After a year of testing, the company will decide, based on the numbers of the
branch, whether to extend the regime and extend it to the other 150,000 employees
worldwide. In August 2019, Microsoft closed its Japanese offices for all Fridays.

Productivity, the company said , increased by 40% compared to the same period of
the previous year. In Sweden, Toyota has cut shifts to 6 hours.

In Italy, Milan-based industrial consulting firm Carter & Benson launched the
four-day week with equal pay in January.

The Awin international affiliate network did the same, "after having successfully
experienced a four-and-a-half-day work week for six months", since January has
switched to the four-day regime for all employees, including those of the Milan

In 2019, a Bank of England analyst predicted that the four-day week would
supplant the five-day week by 2050.

In the same year, the Russian premier of the time, Dimitri Medvedev declared that
"in all likelihood, the employment contracts of the future will be based on a
four-day week".

The debate has intensified after Covid forced the mass adoption of smart working
and, consequently, to rethink traditional ways of working.

In May 2020, the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, indicated in the
short week a tool to facilitate the restart after the pandemic.

In the United Kingdom, 45 parliamentarians from various parties signed a motion
"to ask the government to set up a commission to examine the proposal" of the
four-day working week, while the newspaper "Indipendent " adds that a survey
conducted by the research agency Market Survation, published in July 2020, found
that 63% of the population supports the idea of a four-day week with no pay cut,
"while only 12% oppose it."

As we can see, the bourgeoisie itself, through its representatives, corporate
executives and managers, men of government and of the institutions themselves,
discuss and experiment new ways to get out of what in the head of every single
capitalist is the true and only diktat: to guarantee and perpetuate higher
profits and this makes the stammering and reticence of the most representative
trade union structures on this topic even more incomprehensible.

Today for the working masses it is necessary to relaunch the only practice which
has always paid and which always pays: a lasting, generalized and unitary struggle.

Each in his own workplace without fielding the strength of the overall labor
movement we are doomed to defeat. The struggle to be unitary requires a clear,
understandable, immediately expendable demand that can involve all male and
female workers together with the great mass of the unemployed.

The battle for a drastic reduction of the working day, together with the defense
of our wages, must become the central objective through which to get back on top,
to finally play an acquisitive and no longer defensive battle, regaining
regulatory, wage and social conditions that in the last 40 years the employers,
with the help of all governments, have tragically reduced and worsened.

Claim a strong and significant reduction in hours, not falling into the trap of
flexible hours. Unify the wage struggle, unite the proletarian front, call the
younger generations and women to their side, sectors which more than others
suffer the fury of the economic and social crisis, determine relations of power
favorable to our class.

World of Work Commission AL / fdca

(1) "State entrepreneur The growing nationalization of companies in Europe"
Companies under state control are no longer a taboo for the countries of the
European Union. After the 1990s and the start of 21st century privatizations, the
pandemic opened the doors to public capital from major companies. Alvaro Merino.
June 2021European data journalism network


(2) Idem

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