We have received many messages of support from the organizations and comrades with which we share internationalist trade union militancy in WFTU and we thank you for the friendship you are showing to USB and Italian workers.
The situation in our country is really very serious, especially in northern Italy, but it is rapidly spreading throughout the country. More than 300 people die every day while more than 25.000 people are infected with covid 19. The public health system is no longer able to receive all the sick and the oldest or those most at risk are left to die practically without even trying to treat them.
All this is happening mainly because of the austerity imposed by the EU in recent years, which has resulted in economic cuts in the sector of 37 billion euros in a few years, the closure of hospitals, cuts in the number of beds and healthcare staff, and the regionalisation of the health system left without a strong central leadership.
At the same time, privatisation processes and public economic support to the private health system have grown, which is proving to have no capacity to intervene in such a health emergency. Today the Italian people and workers are paying for these economic choices with thousands of deaths. The choices made by the puppet governments in the service of the interests of capital, especially after the fall of the Berlin Wall, are at the root of this health and economic disaster. With the aim of taking back all the conquests that the workers’ and social movement had snatched with hard struggles having as its horizon a social system like the one that was being implemented in the countries that had established socialism, capitalism thought it could overcome its inevitable crisis by privatising everything that was indispensable to the population, the right to health, education, social security, common goods.
It is exactly this operation that has failed today and shows once again how capitalism has no future and cannot govern the processes that the new phase of globalization presents us with.
We stand as USB at the head of the protests about how the Italian government is managing the epidemic crisis. With the agreement between the Italian confederations that are members of the ITUC and the employers’ associations, they want to keep factories and offices open without the minimum guarantees of health protection for workers and employees, thus favouring the spread of the epidemic but for them production and business profits are more important than workers’ health.
Throughout the country there are hundreds of thousands of workers who have gone on strike at the indication of the USB and also in trade, tourism, services there are continuous work stoppages despite the threats of repression for those who abstain from working in public offices. We are not in a position to establish when this situation will normalize, but we know that we will face a new phase of austerity with which employers, government and unions will try to relaunch the economic and financial system by making the workers and the popular masses pay the price, but we hope that awareness will have grown among the workers and that finally even in our sleepy country it will be possible to start a new cycle of mass struggles like the one that characterized the second post-war period in Italy.