In defense of the Si-Cobas coordinator Aldo Milani and of trade union freedom in Italy
Questa petizione ha creato un cambiamento con 177 sostenitori!
Strikes and trade union activities are not matters of criminal law
In defense of the Si Cobas national coordinator Aldo Milani, who could be sentenced for 2 years and 4 months in prison
In defense of trade unionists and solidarity to all affected by repression
For about ten years, in Italy, the world of logistics, one of the key sectors of the Italian and the world economy, has been cris-crossed almost every day by strikes and labor unrest. In recent years, this movement expanded from logistics to important agribusiness, ceramics, trade and metalworking industries.
This unrest was triggered by a status quo characterized by a systematic violation of National Collective Agreements and of the most elementary protections regarding wages, safety and working hours. The movement restored rights and dignity to thousands of workers, mostly immigrants, until then voiceless, and reduced to semi-slavery – underpaid, blackmailed, and subject to inhuman conditions.
The movement brought to light a thick undergrowth of lawlessness, tax evasion, and infiltration of organized crime. But police headquarters and prefectures have often transformed strikes and labor unrest into a “problem of public order”. Thus, legality was restored in many of the main logistics supply chains only through forms of struggle considered to be illegal, like gate and road blockades and wildcat strikes. These achievements translated into hundreds of criminal charges against the movement. And the recently approved (Salvini) Security Decree includes sentences of up to 12 years for the “crime” of “road blockade” and immediate repatriation for those immigrants who take part in them.
The trial of the Si-Cobas national coordinator Aldo Milani shows that the repressive fury against the logistics movement is part of a broader repression of trade union rights, social movements and intellectual dissent that is going on in the country.
Aldo was first arrested and held for three days in prison at the end of a union negotiation on extortion charges to the detriment of a meat processing family business (under investigation for corruption). His trial showed both the strong complicity between private business and state organs and Aldo’s innocence. The latter is so evident that the public prosecutor recently requested a “mitigated” sentence of 2 years and 4 months for Aldo because he did not ask money for himself, but for the workers who were dismissed. But this is not extortion. Aldo sought to prevent the dismissal of 55 workers and ensure that they were paid their due in terms of taxes and contributions. This is what any serious trade unionist would do.
The public prosecutor is attempting to criminalize a normal labor dispute, creating a dangerous precedent. If any economic request in favor of workers can be classified as extortion, then the very foundations of trade union activity are put in question.
We therefore ask all democratic forces to sign this appeal for the full acquittal of Aldo Milani. We also ask them to support the campaign for the decriminalization of "road blockades" for social or trade union reasons, and for the prohibition to use cops (celerini) outside the workplaces during labor unrest.
[This is a shorter version of the Italian petition, https://www.change.org/p/si-cobas-gli-scioperi-non-si-processano-in-difesa-di-aldo-milani
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