The new bargaining system:
The official birth of the market union


The so-called reform of the bargaining system and the agreement between industry associations, the government and the CISL, UIL and UGL unions comes during an extremely difficult moment, socially and politically, for the workers' movement because of the economic crisis.

Apart from making life extremely difficult for millions of workers and pensioners, the economic crisis is a time when the power relations between capital and labour are redefined. The real weakening of rights and wages that this agreement will introduce is an integral part of capital's policy in dealing with the crisis.

This agreement opens the way to a new form of representation, based on the central role that the union organizations will acquire as managers of the agreement with strong involvement in the dynamics of the market: an authoritarian response which will severely limit participation and union autonomy. The reduced role of collective bargaining and the national labour contract, which by the way will no longer be able to protect and strengthen wages against real inflation, is capital's answer to the crisis: reduce pay without risking anything.

The periods of truce provided for by the agreement are nothing more than a masked attempt to limit the right to strike and the inevitable response that the workers and the people will provide to the damaging, barbarous policies of capital; the ability to revise collectively-agreed national contracts negatively will tie the workers to market values as mere merchandise; and even when collective bargaining itself within a single workplace is possible, the agreement ensures that the profitability of the company takes precedence over the workers.

The bilateral committees provided for in the agreement will serve to enable a mafia-like - and thus unequal - system of assistance, which will be totally unbalanced and go against the real interests of the worker, producing the deleterious rise of a caste of charity professionals.

The emergence of an authoritarian policy aimed at redefining the rules of collective bargaining finds in the CGIL the last hope of the workers to oppose this project; the schizophrenic policies of the Democratic Party will not be enough to ensure a return to the partnership fold of certain important areas of this union confederation. The 13th February strike called by the CGIL's metalworkers (FIOM) and public sector workers (FP-CGIL) is the only chance for renewed impetus to the struggle. This new situation that has emerged is also forcing the still too-silent world of grassroots syndicalism to join the battle in a united way, with none of the typical inter-union competitiveness.

We are thus entering a new phase in which this agreement will have to be overturned, category by category, workplace by workplace.

They are trying to eliminate social conflict! Instead they will have to face more conflict, enough to defeat their plan to make the workers pay for their crisis.

71st Council of Delegates
Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici

Pesaro, 25 January 2009