ITALY Congress of the General Confederation of Labour (CGIL): class struggle or corporatism?

The congress of the leading Italian trade union confederation was held from 15 to 18 March. Monica Grilli, a CGIL activist, spoke to us.

In his introductory report, Secretary General Landini – reelected at the end of the congress – made some obviously justified criticisms of the policies of Meloni’s extreme right-wing government, its refusal to finance schools and hospitals, to raise wages and pensions, its worsening of the Fornero law (which « softens » the terms of dismissal – ed. note), etc.

But Landini also said that he wanted to « hear » what the government had to say to the Congress. And, quite unusually, Meloni had been invited to address the Congress directly. The leitmotif of her speech was to draw the confederation into national unity with her government: « We all work according to our differences, with the same objective, which is the good of our nation ». But what did Landini say? That it was necessary to « combine the competitiveness of companies with the improvement of working conditions ». He suggested « spaces for co-decision » and described « the company as a system in which all must be protagonists ». An extremely dangerous path that leads straight to corporatism, which claims that workers and capitalists could have common interests. In such a logic, workers would be involved in restructuring plans and even in redundancy plans! The policy of « concertation » tending towards corporatism is incompatible with the will of the workers to defend their own interests. « Down below”, among the delegates, Landini’s speech caused a debate: many were opposed to it, or only conformed to it out of discipline. Many demanded concrete and immediate initiatives from the union, in particular against the project of « differentiated autonomy », to which we shall return.