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#Italy, General strike on March 25, USB to the government: close factories and offices, there is nothing more important than health

Italy. March 21, 2020. The Unione Sindacale di Base trade union, calls for a 24 hour national general strike for all public and private sectors on Wednesday, March 25. What follows is the letter sent to the government.

Originally published by Unione Sindacale di Base. Translated by Enough 14.

To Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the responsible Ministers

Close the factories and offices, there is nothing more important than health.

We have waited for the announcement of the new restrictive measures with the hope that we will finally hear that all public and private production activities will be stopped, with the exception of those that are really essential. We note instead your obstinacy in keeping factories and offices open. This is an incomprehensible decision in the face of the spread of contagion, especially in those areas of the country where there are larger production sites and where, not surprisingly, the highest rates of contagion and victims are still being recorded today. Unfortunately, the stoppage of so many activities and the repeated calls to stay at home since March 9 are measures that involve great sacrifices to the population without, however, having the real effectiveness that only the stoppage of productive activities can give.

It is the open factories and functioning offices that are the primary cause that forces so many people, millions of them, every day to leave their homes and get close to other people, transmitting the virus, increasing the contagion and the number of victims and thus expanding the time it takes to escape from the emergency. The heartfelt appeal that for days has been coming from medical and nursing staff, committed to the distress to help the population, to stay at home, is evaded by the blind and cynical decision to continue to keep productive activities running.

Those who are calling for closure are primarily the workers, the many who have gone on strike in recent days, exposed to the risk of contagion without any valid reason other than to keep business going. They have done so at the risk of retaliation from their employers but convinced that there is nothing more important than their health and that their safety corresponds to that of the whole community.

But many local administrators are also calling for closure, faced with the recognition of the fragility of our public health structure, totally unprepared to support such an emergency, also because it has been affected in recent years by repeated cuts in personnel and resources, culpably regionalized, privatized and subjected to progressive outsourcing. Shortages of beds, staff and health equipment are among the factors that are aggravating the suffering and making it essential to decide to block activities in order to avoid the definitive collapse and the impossibility of rescue for those who are sick.

It was also the delegation of experts from China who called for the closure, and who urged us to take measures similar to those taken in their country and which have proved to be clearly effective.

You have chosen to allow Confindustria’s (Confindustria is the employers’ association in Italy, Enough14) requests not to stop the economic machine, endangering the lives of thousands of people. You are taking on a very serious responsibility that is not diminished by the fact that you have so many accomplices, including Cgil, Cisl and Uil (Cgil, Cisl and Uil are reformist labour unions in Italy).

Unione Sindacale di Base, March 21, 2020

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