Bologna. Italy. May 18. 2020. What’s happened? At dawn this morning in Bologna, Italy, some workers and precarious workers who refused to be exploited and swindled by their shit bosses were woken up by police officers, giving them notice of these precautionary measures against them: five were ordered to leave Bologna and one was banned from approaching their ex-workplace and ex-bosses. A further 13 workers have also been charged.
Originally published by Fever Struggle.
Although it is well known that the protection of precarious young people has never been their priority, the police showed up without gloves and masks and without respecting social distancing rules, putting our health at risk. When one precarious worker complained, the police officer responded, to the amusement of his colleague: “Don’t worry, with this order you will end up very far away!”. They are defying the same health regulations that they were enforcing with fines and charges during the lockdown.
What is the order? It is a precautionary measure (i.e. issued in a discretionary manner by a judge and immediately enforceable without a trial, i.e. without any proof of “guilt”) that obliges those who have received it to immediately leave the city of Bologna and not to return for an indefinite period. It doesn’t matter that they have friends, partners and in some cases families in the city. It doesn’t matter that this further limits the precarious income of these workers. It doesn’t matter that we are in the midst of a pandemic, which limits mobility for public health reasons. They clearly don’t care about the virus spreading and the possibility of infection.
From one hour to the next, those same workers who before couldn’t leave their homes, have to leave their homes and go who knows where and for who knows how long. Should they go to friends or relatives, endangering their health and that of others? Should they rent a house outside Bologna, when it is already difficult to pay the rent on their own house in the city? The same people who said they wanted to protect our health now show us that they never really cared. The only health that interests them is the health of the shit bosses’ profits.
Who did these measures target? A worker in a social cooperative in Bologna, who has been forced to continue working throughout the lockdown for low pay and without adequate protection; a worker in a bar, who was supposed to restart their shifts today; a partner in a small business, who has refused to pass the crisis onto their workers and for this reason has not received a single euro from the state or the local government; a student who, to pay their way through university, has had to work illegally; a rider who during the lockdown has been forced to work to earn money to get by. On top of this, a former employee of the Nails Café, which is at the centre of the case, has also been banned from approaching their ex-workplace or their ex-bosses. These shit bosses are guilty of not having paid thousands of euros owed to an employee. The message to the workers is: let these bosses exploit and swindle you in peace.
What are they being charged with? With harassing bosses who don’t pay their workers. From this morning, demanding your wages is officially called extortion! From this morning, going to your shit boss to protest against their fraud and harassment, thus upsetting their business, is officially called violence!
On the day of the reopening of many businesses after months of lockdown, the watchword is economic recovery, but the message is clear: this recovery is only for the shit bosses. Nobody cares about young people, precarious and exploited workers, who very often have not received a penny during this period. The economy made up of illegal and badly paid work has to recover quickly and, at a time like this, we are a problem for all bosses who are prepared to pass on the costs of the economic crisis to their employees.
There’s no point in you trying to give us a name or to hunt us down because everyone is behind our masks: all the precarious workers who have chosen to take revenge on their exploiters; all the workers who have identified themselves in one of the many stories of blackmail, fraud and harassment that we have told. Even more so now that we are in the midst of an economic crisis, for every exploitative shit boss there will be more masked people ready to take to the streets. For every precarious person forced from their home, there will be more ready to spread through Italy, because these shit bosses don’t have a home.
When the institutions said #andràtuttobene (everything will be fine), we now know what they meant: it will be fine for the shit bosses, the only people who are truly protected. That is why revenge against these bosses won’t stop. It is time to put our masks on again.
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