The condition of the women workers, the most exploited, is held back, nobody not talk about, at most it appears in some statistics on newspaper, or in some clamorous investigation, which remains just a ‘scoop’ (usually, workers have to die to appear in the newspapers). Yet working women are suffering unprecedented attacks, they are the first victims of the policies of the bosses, the Jobs Act of Renzi’s government.
But it must not be said. Because their situation, made of attacks on working conditions, discrimination, up to sexual blackmail, lays bare the whole system of exploitation and oppression on the workplace and outside.
Even the official trade unions are silent or speak only when the situation breaks up, tragically, like that of the hired women the last summer; they do not organize struggles but, rather, prevent them – Fiom [metal union] at most sometimes come out with an useful investigation, but then hold back workers who mobilize, as the Sata Melfi, and made that matter of dignity a mere point of an useless agenda.
BUT THE WORKING WOMEN ARE FED UP WITH THIS!
Women workers at the Sata in Melfi, as in other factories of FCA, are tired after few hours of work, exhausted by fatigue. They have to choose whether to go in the bathrooms, where they have to hurry even in the days of menstruation, or eat a sandwich, in the short breaks of 10 minutes. The stressful shifts, rhythms and workloads also attack their reproductive health. The ultramodern systems intensifying the work adopted by Marchionne (Ergo UAS) bring the workers to a condition of new Middle Ages. And finally they are offended, humiliated, when they ask a blue suit to avoid the embarrassment of blood spots in the period of menstruation. When they come out exhausted from the factory, on rest days – say the workers – they can not rest, because at home they begin with household chores, children care, etc.
The hired women say: “We are the slaves of the third millennium.” They are paid somewhat more than twenty euros a day, for ten, twelve hours of work, even 15 hours in the warehouses; They are black workers or sign a false paycheck, do an exhausting work, standing under tents where in summer the heat reaches 50 degrees, breathing toxic products, bending for hours and hours. They are selected as slaves by illegal recruiters or more modern and “legal” forms of hiring as the temporary work agencies, for super-profits of large companies. They must work under the eyes of a “kapo” which also decides when they can go pee, behind a tree. The youngest of them also undergo sexual blackmail, harassment, violence up by foremen and bosses. And, a the end, they die for fatigue, such as Paola and others the last summer.
The women working for the Coops are always under the threat of dismissal, with lower and lower wages, they can not even get sick. Blackmailed, harassed and forced to work at inhuman rhythms by firms with millions of sales; always scolded, threatened with transfer as punishment. Working mothers are discriminated and left at home without pay when they no longer useful (guilty of having young children). When women rebel, are sexually harassed and fired (as the workers of the coop. Yoox Mr Job Logistics in Bologna)
There are the ultra-precarious cleaning workers, from North to South, always under threat of firing by the lowest-price subcontractors, who work few hours and even fewer wages, often not even paid.
And there is the last “ring of the chain”, the migrants working as “slaves of rubbish”, as in Monselice (Padua), fired by the coop for having protested against inhumane working conditions. Moroccan women, folded eight hours on waste hunting the recyclable plastic. An eco-friendly business based on the uncontrolled exploitation of migrant women. They also have to endure racist insults and brutal blackmail.
And so on, on, on ….
These are just few examples of the condition of women workers, on which the bosses, often transnational, impose a “modern Middle Ages”. Every day it shows the intertwining of class attacks and nasty attacks on women as women. A condition that does not give breath, because the burden, the situation of blackmail on the workplace is brought into the houses and there the burdens of the problems of motherhood, children care, lack of social services, in turn weigh as many boulders on the conditions and opportunities of work for women.
A condition that the Renzi’s government has worsened twice: first, with the Jobs Act, the life-time precariousness has been institutionalized, along with the freedom of dismissal, that first affects the women, often with because of motherhood; then, with the misery of the bonuses, the lack of social services is unloaded once more on women.
But in some of the situations we mentioned, there is also something else. There is rebellion, somewhere struggles, strikes, protests of women workers: the battle against the white suits of the workers in Melfi, the brave stand of the hired women, the protest of workers in Bologna against dismissal and the pig bosses, the strong struggle of immigrant women.
But these and many other struggles of women have not yet won.
The struggles of the workers, of the most exploited does not come out of isolation, women workers are not united, self-organized for a national battle, which must put strongly the condition of women, the double exploitation and oppression, that there is in each struggle but goes beyond the single struggles, because it requires a 360 degree change.
THE WOMEN’S STRIKE IS THE WEAPON WE HAVE AND MUST USE!
The objective situation shows with thousands of facts that it is time to say “Enough!”, it is time for a strong new women’s strike. Yet there is not an adequate subjective consciousness, but we must begin. This women’s strike, the second after that on 25 November 2013, has at its centre the women workers, the most exploited and oppressed workers. May all the other women join! First the women workers in the schools, who have done a big struggle and in the strike of 2013 were great, 12,000 joining the strike.
But the women workers from the factories, from the countryside, from the “blacker” workplaces, the immigrants enslaved, are those who show the extent to which comes the modern Middle Ages of the capitalist system that takes and destroys all the life, in 360 degree, and that is chieftain of organized, institutionalized male chauvinism and sexism. On March 8 we begin the march of the women’s strike. It must continue beyond the March 8, to gradually become larger and extend everywhere. Let’s construct together, with the strike, a network of women workers, of struggles, and a platform from below.