This morning, during the national logistics strike, Adil Belakhdim, our coordinator for Novara and a member of the National Coordination of SI Cobas, was killed by a truck that broke a picket line in front of Lidl warehouse at Biandrate (Novara).
The picket, consisting of a few dozen workers, was hit by a criminal driver, who at the sight of the picket did not hesitate to press the accelerator, first running over two workers who barely managed to save themselves and who are now hospitalized, and then running over our comrade, and running away.
Adil was married with two young children. After working at Tnt for years, he chose to return to his country and start a business. Things didn’t go as he had planned, so he came back to Italy and became active in the SI Cobas.
It was he who gave his commitment in Novara to build a provincial coordination, working on daily basis to develop SI Cobas in the Novara area. Comrades from other cities heard his words at the last national coordination, urging the struggle and the participation in tomorrow’s demonstration in Rome. Two years ago, when SI Cobas met Morocco’s largest union representatives, he participated in the delegation and generously hosted us at his home.
Although still incredulous and appalled by this tragedy, we can not silence our anger for a death that cannot in any way be dismissed as a simple accident (as some media presented it at first), nor as the simple action of a lone madman!
Adil’s murder is in fact the culmination of an escalation of organized violence against Si Cobas, which has been going on for months and is now without limits.
Police charges at FedEx TNT in Piacenza, arrests, mandatory residence orders and the fines for the strikes, bodyguards and scabs’ armed assaults in San Giuliano and Lodi, and finally the punitive raids at Texprint two days ago: all these actions are part of a single plan, according to which the bosses and the organized crime, which does a big business in logistics, act in a united and concentric way to crush with force and violence the workers’ struggle against super-exploitation and in defense of the achievements won over the years by militant unions, and primarily by the SI Cobas. Such a violence is almost always backed and fed by the ruthless repression conducted by the police against strikes and workers’ struggles.
The Bosses Wanted a Man Dead and they Got it
For weeks the bosses and their accomplices have been spreading in the workplaces, by any means and with any kind of provocation, the message that picket lines can be broken, that workers and trade union organisers can be freely beaten to a pulp, that strikes can be crushed and struggles silenced with mafia methods – all this with the complicity or connivance of the state and the police.
This explicit and deployed violence is just the tip of the iceberg of a political strategy aimed at silencing workers’ demands and isolating class unionism, and functional to pave the way for next governmental measures attacking millions of workers’ living conditions and wages, starting with the imminent unblocking of layoffs.
In these hours we are witnessing the usual ballet of statements of dismay and declarations by government leaders led by Prime Minister Draghi, who invites to “shed light” on what happened in Biandrate – with Cgil, Cisl and Uil official unions that, as usual, decide to call a strike only when the workers’ blood has already been shed.
This pattern is similar to what happened years ago at Gls in Piacenza, when Abd El Salaam was run over by a truck during a strike called by Usb: after a few hours of simulcasting indignation, they resumed their usual complete silence on the condition of thousands logistic workers, who are exploited day in, day out, who are underpaid and subject to all forms of blackmail and harassment.
Rather than shedding crocodile tears Prime Minister Draghi should explain why for over three months the SI Cobas has been left asking the government for a crisis table at Ministry of Economic Development to solve the dispute at Fedex in Piacenza, with 280 workers thrown out on the street only because of their membership in our union, without ever receiving a response, and receiving in return charges and police truncheons, when on last May 21st we gathered in front of the palace of the Government. He should explain why for over a year the SI Cobas has been fighting to obtain from the government (first Conte’s, now the current one) the launch of binding protocols on health and safety in workplaces without ever receiving a response. He should explain why the government is sponsoring restructuring plans that include thousands of redundancies and a general precarization of employment contracts (today in Fedex, tomorrow everywhere) without the most representative trade unions in the logistics sector being called to the negotiating table.
The leadership of CGIL-CISL-UIL should explain to us how to reconcile the just strike for the death of Adil with the systematic work of demonization and criminalization they conducted against the SI Cobas (just to limit to most recent events, their urging police intervention against the workers on strike at Ceva in Stradella) and, more generally, against combative unionism.
Tomorrow Adil would have been with us in Rome to demonstrate against the unblocking of redundancies, against the sham renewal of the freight and logistics national collective agreement, and in support of the struggle of Fedex workers in Piacenza.
Our grief for the loss of one of our national leaders, criminally and cowardly killed, is indescribable, it but does not weakens. Indeed, it strengthens the reasons for the demonstration tomorrow in Rome.
Because these are the same reasons and the same cause for which Adil has been fighting for years and that are the basis of the tragedy of this morning: the struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat from capitalist barbarism.
Adil lives on in our struggles!
His blood will not be shed in vain!
Honor to you, comrade Adil!