Report. Hospital workers released statements in solidarity of the cleaning sector workers, whose contract expired over seven years ago.

Janitors on strike: Italian hospital workers have gone without contracts for years

Seven and a half years without a collective contract. The cleaning sector workers—those who are cleaning and sanitizing hospitals, health facilities, schools and means of transport every day and are making it possible for the country to keep going since March—continue to fight, and on Friday were set to back on strike to ask for the renewal of the multi-service contract under which 600,000 workers are covered, seventy percent of them women. The last mobilization was on October 21, but little has changed since then.

The unions FILCAMS CGIL, FISASCAT CISL and Uiltrasporti “are condemning the behavior of business associations— Anip Confindustria, Confcooperative Lavoro e Servizi, Legacoop Produzione e Servizi, Unionservizi Confapi and Agci Servizi—which have self-interestedly caused the lengthening of the negotiation times, questioned the rights and protections of workers in the sector and the establishment of a fair and dignified wage increase, without yet responding to the requests to conclude the renewal of the contract.”

The three unions are “taking a stand against the position of the employers’ representatives in the sector, which operate mainly in a regime of public procurement, in hospitals, assisted living residences, nursing homes, schools, universities, courts, factories and public and private offices, where multi-service workers play an indispensable role in the containment of contagion.”

The multi-service sector has grown a lot in recent years “due to outsourcing processes, increasingly also driven by the state; and, with the health emergency, it has consistently increased its activities and turnover, while the procurement system is often not synonymous with quality of service and quality of work.” The mobilization was set to take place “with sit-ins and mobilizations from north to south, in the areas classified red and orange, in compliance with anti COVID-19 regulations.”

Friday also witnessed the joint initiative by the public unions FP CGIL, CISL FP, UIL FPL and UIL PA in front of hospitals and health facilities, under the slogan “The public sector for the public, workers united to offer care and services to citizens,” as a sign of solidarity with the health care workers who are facing this pandemic emergency on the front lines. It is an initiative that follows the state of agitation already declared by the unions for these professional categories in recent weeks.

“It is absolutely necessary to guarantee them that they can work in safety, constantly providing them with protective equipment, swabs and health surveillance. An equally essential and urgent matter is to proceed with new hiring to add personnel and strengthen the health services, including through the stabilization of the situation of precarious workers.” FP CGIL, CISL FP, UIL FPL and UIL PA conclude that “it is important that contracts are renewed in order to make the most of the professionalism of the workers.”

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