Precarious Workers' Collective Actions in Italy: Between Silos and Synergies in the Fragmentation of the Working and Social Life

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Seminarsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Daniele DI NUNZIO, Fondazione Di Vittorio, Italy
Unstable employment, casualization, work discontinuity, insecurity, lack of social protections, risk of unemployment, low wage and poverty, have become major problems for an increasing number of individuals in Italy and in the Western Countries. Precarious workers have many difficulties to organize collective actions because they have to cope with the work fragmentation, the low bargaining power, the lack of union representation. At general level, labour movements and other social movements have to cope with a crisis of the social dialogue institutions and of democracy, with a reduction of the individuals’ opportunities to participate in the definition of the working and social life in front of the market forces.

In Italy there is an emergence of several micro-struggles organized by precarious workers but, on the other hand, there are difficulties to organize large-scale workers movements and to strengthen a wider cooperation between the labour movements and other social movements. This paper presents the findings of a long-term research (2009-2015) on the workers’ collective actions in Italy in the contexts of work fragmentation and precarity organized by unions, associations, self-organized networks, considering the conflict and the cooperation among these actors. Analysis concerns different sectors, professions and working conditions: temporary workers, unemployed people, freelancers, knowledge workers, cultural workers, migrants in agriculture, subcontracting units, franchising companies, and broad campaigns against precarity. Research methodology adopted several approaches: in-depth interviews, focus groups, workshops, participative observation, questionnaires.

What are limits and opportunities of the precarious workers’ collective actions? What are their organizing models? What is the meaning of action? What are goals and orientations they want to affirm? What are impacts and trends for the union organizations? In conclusion, what factors are in favor of silos or synergies for the collective actions in the fragmentation of the working and social life?