italy12.jpg General Strike in Italy Italian teachers have been taking part in action against the Berlusconi government's cuts package Teachers in the Italian union COBAS have been involved in boycotting end of year assessments in protest against the Italian Government's cutting of 41,000 teaching jobs, attacks on pensions and pay, which are a part of huge cutbacks in the education budget which will mean a much diminished education for children in Italy.  Pasted below is a statement from the COBAS union about the action. Meanwhile the CGIL union called a general strike on June 27th and brought tens of thousands of people onto the streets to demonstrate against the government's plans to attack public services in Rome, Milan and Bologna and many other cities. 

Figures of  the end of year evaluation strike , called by COBAS, are astounding, as an evidence of the enormous discontent towards the “massacre of State School”: we have reached the goal of 25 thousand final evaluations blocked, with tens of thousand “direct” strikers and  tens of thousand teachers and staff who took part in  “resistance funds”.This strike spread especially in Lazio with about 2700 final evaluations blocked (1600 in Rome), in Sicily with 2400, 1600 in Emilia Romagna, 1500 in Campania and Lombardia, 1300 in Piemonte and Sardinia, 1200 in Tuscany, 1100 in Veneto.

The strike of  end of year activities involved all types and grades of schools while the blocking of final evaluation “overflew” in secondary school , where nearly 19000 final evaluations were blocked. The number of classes to be assessed  were 93000 and the final evaluations were spread  on 6 days; so during the 2 days of strike about 31000 evaluations were supposed to be held, excluded the final classes which are not involved in this strike . We blocked about 19000 classes out of  27000 with a percentage as high as 70%. 

The struggle movement promoted by COBAS and organized casual teachers want  the cancellation of 41000 cuts  of work places and of the “Finance Act-massacre”, of the freezing of automatic seniority increases and of contracts, of the thievieng of retirement pay-off and  the bringing forward of women retirement age and we claim the employment of casual workers on regular basis, massive funding for State School, the abolition of Secondary School Reform, the restitution of the assembly right.

Only our “sleeping” Minister of Education Mrs  Gelmini did not realize anything and when she woke up all at a suddenn she raved about “isolated cases” accusing- Berlusconi, her mentor and protector, docet- hundreds of press agencies, newspapers, tv and radio channels, which registered the great success of the strike, of plotting against the Government.

A lot of colleagues were ready to carry on with the strike but, unfortunately we were taken away most of the right of strike 20 years ago with the unconstitutional law146 of the 1990, called “anti.COBAS”, written and approved by those  “monopolistic” trade unions, in primis Cgil, which  had been denouncing for decades any limitation on the right of strike defining it “fascist” but when facing the newly born COBAS, which called into question the “Professional unionism”, preferred to cancel the “raw material” of any fight.

Our struggle will go on over the next days. During the Secondary School final exams we will invite all colleagues involved to express in different ways their support to the reasons of the protest. Then, from the 25th June on, we’ll organize permanent sit-in and demonstrations in front of the Parliament, during the discussion of the “Finance law-massacre” and all the bloody measures against State School and, with the movement of casual teachers, we will summon at Prefectures, Provincial and Regional Education Department all the necessary mobilizations to cancel cuts and freezes.

Piero Bernocchi 

National spokesman of COBAS