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This Friday 22 December, upon the call of UNI Global Union’s Italian affiliates, Filcams-CGIL, Fisascat-CISL and UILTuCS, millions of commerce and tourism workers will strike and take to the streets to demand a pay rise and a renewal of their sector-wide collective bargaining agreements.

The Italian sector-level agreements for the commerce and tourism sectors cover around 5 million workers. The agreements have not been renewed for over three years and the last round of negotiations between the unions and the employers’ organizations ended up in a deadlock.

Trade unions are asking for a pay rise aligned with inflation and an update of the regulatory framework, including a revision of the professional classification system and the reinforcement of employees’ rights to continuous training.

However, the employers’ associations have repeatedly denied trade unions’ fair demands and instead proposed unacceptable cuts in workers’ hard-won rights, including the 14th salary, paid leave, seniority increases and notice periods. The employers also want to introduce further precarity through more flexible use of fixed-term contracts.

In response, UNI’s Italian affiliates have called a strike and workers will also protest in Rome, Milan, Naples, Cagliari, and Palermo. An international delegation from UNI Global Union, IUF and FAECY of Argentina will also join the rally in Milan to support the Italian unions and workers.

“The global labour movement stands with Filcams-CGIL, Fisascat-CISL and UILTuCS in their just fight to renew their sector-wide collective agreements,” said Mathias Bolton, Head of UNI Commerce. “Employers must listen to the voices of 5 million workers and their unions, and I am sure with Friday’s action their voices will be heard. Workers in this sector deserve a fair contract and we will continue to support and fight alongside them until we win.”