Italy: Occupied Lambretta factory invaded by police

International solidarity needed for Milan workers

Hands off Innse!

The Committee for a Workers’ International has received an urgent appeal in relation to a serious confrontation between state forces and workers occupying a factory in Milan, Italy.

On Sunday 2 August, just as the country’s Summer holiday break began, a massive mobilisation of police units was organised to move into the Innse factory – historic home of the famous Lambretta scooter, now run-down to near extinction. Workers had been occupying the plant for about a year, looking at alternative ways of using their time and the machinery in the factory. A speculator has now bought the premises and the equipment for the knockdown price of a medium-sized family apartment. The new owner has declared all the workers redundant and wants to sell off everything on the site to line his own pockets. The workers were told that nothing would happen over the holiday period. Then came this invasion of a vast army of heavily equipped police – carabinieri, finance police and ordinary police!

Just 50 workers had been holding out, searching for a way to maintain their livelihoods. In Italy, there is no real unemployment benefit system. Closures and redundancies in today’s climate, with little prospect of alternative employment, are almost a death sentence.

The workers’ union – the metal-mechanics’ section of the Cgil trade union federation, and the Cgil itself – have organised demonstrations in the city and pickets at the factory in support of the workers. They are asking for maximum support in terms of solidarity messages.

Fiom’s statement says, “Nothing must remain untried, notwithstanding the holiday period, to let the Insee workers feel the support and solidarity of all engineering workers. It is of the gravest concern if this intervention by the police forces is a sign of how the ruling authorities are preparing to deal with the serious social tensions which the crisis will produce when work is resumed in the Autumn.”

Four workers and a union official got into the factory on Tuesday (4 August) and climbed onto a crane that had been brought in to begin dismantling machinery. They have every intention of occupying it until assurances are given that nothing will be removed.

As in similar situations elsewhere – Visteon, Vestas, Thomas Cook, Goodyear, Ssangyong – the questions are posed of nationalisation, public ownership under workers’ control and plans for alternative work.

We are appealing, especially to groups of workers involved in recent or current struggles, for messages of solidarity to be sent to the Innse workers through the Milan office of FIOM (Federazione Impiegati Operai Metallurgici)

Copies to: FIOM Secretary, Gianni Rinaldini, at: and Committee for a Workers’ International at:

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August 2009