Wednesday, April 28, marked the hundredth day of strike by workers of textile printing company Texprint srl. in Prato, Italy. Texprint workers started their strike on January 18, demanding the reduction of their exploitative 12-hour daily work shifts to a maximum of eight hours per day. The strike organized by the workers, along with Si Cobas trade union, has continued despite facing several difficulties and threats. It has received widespread solidarity from working class sections across Italy.
Texprint workers complain of being exploited through 12-hour-long work schedules throughout the week without a single day off. According to reports, 13 Texprint workers were fired after joining the Si Cobas union. During the strike, workers suffered police repression, an acid attack, an attempt to run them over with a truck at full-speed, and thousands of euros in fines for violating the curfew.
Over a 100 notable personalities, including artists, politicians, writers, and academics, along with several organizations like local chapters of Si Cobas union, Poetre al Popolo (Power to the People), the Italian Left, the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC), Communist Youth Front (FGC), and Unione Sindacale di Base (USB) have expressed solidarity and support to the strike and issued a joint statement.
In the joint statement, the organizations state, “from the striking workers in Prato, we heard the report of intolerable conditions of exploitation: twelve-hour shifts a day for seven days a week, miserable wages, denial of all the most elementary rights. We’ve seen on their bodies the signs of accidents caused by work done without rest, with massacring shifts, without safety. Their complaint can and must turn on the spotlight on the health status and the rights and dignity of workers in the textile sector.”
On April 24, hundreds of FGC cadres joined a demonstration in Prato in solidarity with the Texprint workers. Regarding the mobilization, the FGC stated, “the struggle of the Texprint workers of Prato is the synthesis of the conditions of exploitation that millions of workers suffer every day, of the master’s arrogance and of the role of repressive apparatus. Today that rights won with years of struggle are trampled and cancelled, we cannot stand by and watch. Texprint workers are not alone. Their fight is everyone’s fight!”
Working class sections, devastated by the COVID-19 crisis and exploitation under a crony capitalist system, have been organizing strikes and protests across Italy since the beginning of the year. Logistics workers in Piacenza have organized continuous strikes and have been facing persecution by state authorities. Italian left-wing parties have also raised strong protest against the inauguration of the new government in the country led by ex-European Central Bank president Mario Draghi, comprising of technocrats and politicians from parties ranging from the social democrat Democratic party (PD) to the far-right Lega Nord (LN).