Organizing, Participation and Democracy in the Work Fragmentation: Precarious Workers' Collective Actions in Italy

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Seminarsaal 20 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Daniele DI NUNZIO, Fondazione Di Vittorio, Italy
Work fragmentation and flexibility are major trends in the contemporary working processes and in the labour market, in Italy and in the Western Countries, with deep impacts on the individual and the collective life. Work fragmentation and flexibility are spread across different levels: in the relations between company and individuals (by an increase in the use of temporary jobs, bogus freelancers, involuntary part-time, mini-jobs, downsizing, facilitation for dismissals, risk of unemployment); in the relations among companies (subcontracting, outsourcing, segmentation of the value chain); in the relations among the companies and the territorial institutions, under the pressure of the global capital mobility and the power of the market forces. These processes led to a crisis of democracy considering the crisis of the individuals’ fundamental rights (as workers and citizens) and the reductions of the participative opportunities at company and social level.

During the recent years, several strategies have been adopted by unions in cooperation with association and self-organized groups to cope with these problems. This paper presents the findings of a long-term research (2009-2015) on the workers' collective actions in the contexts of work fragmentation and precarity in Italy (in particular supported by CGIL). Analysis concerns different sectors, professions and working conditions: temporary workers, unemployed people, freelancers, knowledge and cultural workers, migrants in agriculture, subcontracting units and franchising, struggles against outsourcing and broad campaigns against precarity. Several methodological approaches have adopted in-depth interviews, focus groups, workshops, participative observation, and questionnaires.

Analysis is focused on the organizing models of these actions to present the new ways of the workers mobilizations; limits and drivers for the change of the union organizations; their orientations towards the affirmation of democracy in broad sense, considering both the fundamental rights and the forms of deliberation, participation and representation in the fragmentation of working and social life.