Maurizio Landini: “The Jobs Act must be repealed. Let’s not resign ourselves to precarious employment for life”

Maurizio Landini: “The Jobs Act must be repealed.  Let’s not resign ourselves to precarious employment for life”

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ROME — «Repeal the wrong laws that are at the origin of poor and precarious work». Maurizio Landini, general secretary of the CGIL, says this as he announces the referendum to abolish the Jobs Act and restore Article 18. «Let’s give citizens back a voice and dignity, let’s put a tool for deciding back into their hands. Italy has extra profits at the highest and wages at the lowest. It’s time to make some noise and say enough.”

Secretary, enough for what?

«Enough with the propaganda and eternal electoral campaign promises. Half of Italians no longer vote, the country is aging, blocking migrants and letting young people escape abroad. Instead of fighting against tax evasion, the government proceeds with amnesties, agreements and amnesties. Let’s say no to precarious work, yes to dignified work where you don’t die working.”

Isn’t the battle over Article 18 a rearguard battle? Young people don’t even know what it is.

«They don’t know because they no longer have protection and because they are totally precarious. A few days ago I was in Piacenza, at the Amazon workers’ assembly. Most were hired after March 7, 2015, without the protections of others. Does it make sense to have two regimes in Italy? One who in the event of illegitimate dismissal ensures reinstatement on the job and the other only compensation? Never heard a young man say that when he grows up he wants to be a temporary worker.”

Are we at the re-edition of Landini against Renzi? The referendum also risks splitting the Democratic Party.

«We propose another social model of development, based on the rights now denied to workers. Last year, out of 7 million contracts activated, only 16% were stable, 84% precarious. That is, fixed-term, intermittent, seasonal, administered. In Italy almost 6 million people do not earn 11 thousand euros gross annual income from work. And the government has not taken a single euro from profits and extra profits.”

The government, on the contrary, claims record employment and “stable” poverty.

«The numbers speak for themselves. Poverty increases. And if employment also grows, it means only one thing: you are poor even though you work. The time has come for change. And to make an honest assessment of 25 years of labor market flexibility policies, endorsed by all governments, from Maroni’s White Paper to Renzi’s Jobs Act.”

And what is your reading?

«Widespread precariousness, increased inequalities, lowered wages, cut healthcare and education, non-existent industrial policies, insecure work. The Meloni government has not reversed these trends, on the contrary it has liberalized fixed-term work and reintroduced vouchers. It is above all young people, women and the South who pay the price. This is why we have decided to also use the weapon of the referendum, as well as that of collective bargaining, mobilization and the collection of signatures for popular initiative laws with our proposals on work, healthcare, fight against poverty”.

An intense calendar, just four months after the last strikes. To achieve what?

«With Uil we made a commitment to the workers in the autumn. Without answers, we would have continued. No replies were received. In fact the situation gets worse. People continue to die at work. And after Florence no real negotiations were opened. On April 11th we will strike for health and safety and fair tax reform.”

The government introduced the points licence. Isn’t that enough for you?

«It is only useful if it concerns all sectors and blocks the activities of companies that do not respect safety standards. But this is not the case: the points can be recovered even with just one training course. We instead ask to abolish cascade subcontracting, both in public and private works. The client’s responsibility for what happens along the entire chain. The restoration of economic and regulatory equality in all procurement. We need a new social model that is not that of Florence, with migrants exploited, illegally, without a residence permit and who die at work in general silence.”

With Cisl and Uil you have chosen Europe as the theme of May Day. A message one month before the elections?

«We will be in Monfalcone to build another Europe, social and labor and for peace. To say enough to austerity and the new Stability Pact, as anticipated by the European trade union on 13 December. I find it very dangerous that there is no discussion of investing in healthcare, education, industrial transitions. But of new expenditure on weapons.”

The government is ready to launch the Def. What should be there?

«Extraordinary public and private investments with an idea of ​​the country. This is the time to support development, taking the money where it is: extra profits and income. If, however, the government, as the prime minister made clear in January, will again touch social spending, we are ready to intensify the mobilization. Workers and pensioners can no longer stand being the government’s ATM.”

Will you also say this to the new president of Confindustria?

«I will say that non-precarious work and know-how must return to the center of the discussion. And for this reason renew all national labor contracts. The logic of subcontracting must be reversed. I expect a decisive choice of sides on this. Also because our manufacturing system risks being called into question. Let’s look at what happens in Stellantis, the Telecom stew, the near disappearance of steel. It’s time for serious investments.”

Why didn’t Fiom Cgil sign Stellantis’ incentivized exit plan?

«Car production in Italy uses a third of production capacity. This is already a clear element of disengagement. Fiom did not sign because that plan is in fact an accompaniment to the cessation of activities or the closure of the factories. For years we have been asking the government to convene the owners and open negotiations with the unions to define the investments and the impact on the components. This is also why all the unions will strike in Mirafiori on April 12th. The mobilization for new industrial policies is only just beginning.”

What are the other dates?

«The demonstration in Rome on 20 April on healthcare that doesn’t work: 9 million Italians go into debt of a billion a year to get treatment. We cannot stand by and watch: there is no longer a public service. Then on April 25th in Milan against the war, for freedom and democracy and to celebrate the victory over Nazi-fascism. Finally on May 25th in Naples with all the associations of the Via Maestra to apply the Constitution and unite the country against differentiated autonomy. If the government moves forward on this, we will also evaluate the repeal referendum.”

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