Collective Actions Against the Exploitation of Migrant Workers in Italy: The Relationship between Trade Unionism and Social Movements

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Daniele DI NUNZIO, Fondazione Di Vittorio, Italy
In social sciences the relationship between trade unionism and social movements has been deeply analysed considering several aspects, as: workers’ collective actions in opposition to forms of domination with the aim to control the historicity of society and the general transformation of social life (Touraine 1992); varieties of trade unions models, as membership-based unionism and social movement unionism (Turner & Hurd 2001); varieties of strategies of revitalization and organizing approaches to favourite alliances with other actors, as community unionism (Phelan ed. 2007; Gumbrell-McCormick & Hyman 2013). In Italy, trade unionism is characterized by the persistence of a continuous tension between the logic of consolidated organization and the logic of movement (Regalia 2012) and trade unions have several limits in their capacity to strength relations with social movements in wide networks, as in the experience of the alter-global movement (Farro 2008).

The paper is focused on the relations between trade unionism and social movements in Italy considering a specific case study: collective actions to affirm migrants’ rights, with a focus on the farm workers. During the recent years, Italian trade unions participated to many collective actions against forced labour and exploitation of migrant workers in the agriculture sector, at national and international level. The paper aims to underlines main features and tensions in the relationship between labour and other social movements, considering several dimensions: meaning of action and cultural orientations (towards the affirmation of individual subjectivity of migrants, their dignity as worker and citizen, universal rights); networks (considering trade unions, associations, self-organized groups, institutions and their more or less cooperative interactions); participative methods and organizing approaches (in a scenario characterized by a strong workforce fragmentation, limits of the traditional organizing models, varieties of participatory logics). Research methodology adopted a qualitative approach with in-depth interviews with migrants, trade unionists, activists.