Workers across Italy protest killing of trade union leader Adil Belakdhim

Adil Belakdhim was killed when a truck ran into a picket line of protesting logistics workers on June 18. Si Cobas, the union to which he belonged, has termed it the culmination of attacks on workers across the country

June 26, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
A protest against the killing of Adil Belakhdim. Photo: Si Cobas

On June 24, Thursday, logistics workers across Italy observed a four-hour strike as part of their continuing protest against the killing of trade union leader Adil Belakdhim. On June 18, Belakhdim, a coordinator of the Si Cobas union, was killed by a truck that rammed a picket line in front of the Lidl warehouse at Biandrate in Novara. Following the incident, workers began mass protests against the attacks and repression on trade union leaders and workers, and layoffs. The protesters are alleging that “Adil did not die in an accident, he was killed in the name of profit.”

Adil Belakhdim was 37 years old and was living with his wife and two children, aged 6 and 4. He was originally from Morocco, and his experiences as a logistics worker at a TNT facility in Milan led to him becoming an active trade unionist. He became the coordinator of the Novara branch of Si Cobas and a member of the national coordination team. On June 18, he and his comrades  were protesting in front of the Lidl distribution center as part of the national logistics strike called by unions, including Si Cobas, against the system of subcontracting, layoffs and attacks on workers. A truck ran into the picket, killing Adil and injuring two other workers. il Manifesto has reported that the truck driver who killed Adil was arrested on charges of vehicular homicide, resisting arrest and hit-and-run.

The Si Cobas union and the Italian working class in general perceives the killing of Adil as a culmination of the continuing assaults on the protesting workers and trade unionists rather than as an accident. Logistics workers across Italy have been organizing vibrant mobilizations demanding rights for the past few years. In many of these protests, the striking workers have faced police repression, assaults from hired goons, attempts at hit and run, acid attacks etc. In March, police in the city of Piacenza attacked militant workers of Fedex-TNT who had protested the closure of the warehouse and layoffs.

Si Cobas union stated that “Adil’s murder is in fact the culmination of the escalation of organized violence against Si Cobas, which has been dragging on for months and is now limitless.”

Various groups including Potere al Popolo, Communist Youth Front (FGC), Communist Refoundation Party (PRC), Communist Party (PC), Italian Communist Party (PCI), Young Communists (GC) etc has also took part in the mobilizations organized across Italy protesting the killing of Adil  Belakhdim and attack on the workers.