italy8.jpg  A Previous Demonstration by Teachers and Students against Italian Cuts The Italian teachers' union COBAS has called a two day strike against government spending cuts In the latest of a series of strikes and demonstrations against Berlusconi's education cuts, COBAS are calling for a two day strike. (see previous posts) They are campaigning against the axing of 41,000 teaching jobs. There follows a statement from the union:

Against the “massacre” of Italian State school COBAS call a national strike during the end of year assessment.

The last stage of the destruction of State school is the “bloodiest” . The Government and the Minister of education Mrs. Gelmini have confirmed what COBAS have been denouncing for months: over the next school year 26000 teachers and 15000 school workers will “disappear” . An analogous “slaughter” of work places in the industrial field, for example the dismissal from next September of 41000 workers because of a hypotetical closing down of all Fiat factories in Italy and of all the petrochemical plant, would, rightly, stir up a pandemonium.

Even the submissive unions and the would-be centre-left party opposition would have to react whereas  the announced elimination of 41thousand teachers and school workers leave  everybody silent and accomplice,  mere actors in the theatre of an empty “anti-berlusconianism”. After the massive cuts of this year and the catastrophic so called “ Secondary school reform” , the destruction of Italian State school must be stopped and the next  41000 work place cuts have to be written of. The struggle must culminate in an extremely “animated” end of school year.

That is why the COBAS National Meeting called (in addition to local demonstration, pickets outside schools, permanent sit-in outside Provincial and Regional School Department),  a 2 day National Strike  during the end of yeer assessment,  receiving the cry thrown out  by the “movement of temporary teachers”. As the school year will have a different ending day troughout the country  the strike will follow a different regional schedule. Teachers and school workers will be on strike for the whole day without assigning final year marks and without doing any other end of year activity  according to the following regional calendar:

7-8 June Emilia Romagna, Calabria and Province of Trento

10-11 June Marche, Puglia, Veneto

11-12 June Sardegna and Umbria

14-15 June   All the remaining regions

The intensification of fight goes also through the reutilization  of an instrument of struggle that was taken away from school workers because of the “backscratching deal” between “compromising  unions” and Governments  which produced the anticonstitutional law 146/90, well known as “anti-strike” and “anti COBAS” law. This strike has been called for the cancellation of 41thousand cuts of work places, permanent employment of temporary workers, significant investments in public education so as to guarantee the regular activities of schools at the end of their resources, the withdrawal of “Secondary school reform” and of Aprea and Cota bills, for restoration to all workers of the right to call unions meetings, during working time.

Finally, what will happen after the 2 day strike will be decided with the “movement of temporary teachers”, permanent teachers and school workers who will join in the strike, considering that the prosecution of the strike involves individual responsability that will be proportioned to the level of partecipation and impact of the strike.

Piero Bernocchi

National spokesman of COBAS