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Italy, unemployment, Women

550 days, 29 Workers, Zero Job Losses

The story of how a few determined Italian women stopped their factory closing and protected their livelihoods has become the subject a powerful film.

“My name is Rose Giancola, I am a worker at Tacconi Sud and this is the second night of the occupation of the factory.” Thus begins the documentary, ‘Atlantis’* directed and produced by Ferrari Massimo of MaGa Production, which tells the story of the longest female factory occupation in Italy.

We’re talking about Tacconi Sud, the former textile factory on the outskirts of Latina, central Italy, which was occupied by its dismissed workers for 550 days. A story of the former industrial province of Lazio that has become the symbol of the Italian crisis. A history of resistance and of defence of rights which, in the documentary, is narrated by a voiceover, that of the worker Rosa Emilia Giancola, known as the “Captain”. And it was she who, through her diaries on the inside that were spread through social networks, projecting the story of the textile factory of Latina out of the Pontine capital, and providing the basis for the documentary.

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“A story with a happy ending – says Rosa Giancola – that was written along with 29 workers who, through their tenacity have accompanied this factory in crisis through bankrupcy and then to an industrial conversion which saved the jobs of all.” This happened between late 2010 and early 2012. The backdrop to the events at Tacconi Sud was Italy’s manufacturing crisis, offshoring, PM Silvio Berlusconi’s scandals.

“But also the [crocodile] tears of Labour Minister Elsa Fornero, crying as she  announced new sacrifices even as citizens were being told that Italian restaurants were full and there was no crisis,” says Giancola. In the documentary, to act as a counterbalance to the decline of Tacconi Sud of Latina, there’s the story of a virtuous factory “that bakes sweets and produces thoughts.”

A story of the artisan biscuit maker Dogliani Carrara, managed and produced entirely by women, whose virtuous experience is told through the friendship before and after the collaboration between the worker Rose Giancola and the business woman Margherita Dogliani. “That Tacconi Sud – says the director Massimo Ferrari – is first and foremost a human and social tale which invites audiences on a necessary reflection about the world of work and how it is changing, on the death of the factories and in some lucky cases on their rebirth. ”

This is the key to the documentary – which won the award for best documentary at the Film Workers United Festival of New York  and the Special Jury Prize at the Italy’s Cortona documentary festival – and a roaming exhibition “550 days between crisis and hope ,” which aims to involve the viewer and to stimulate a reflection on the work from the images of the strikes and closed factories in the province of Latina. The exhibition, which will tour all the provinces of Lazio, will in part collects the images from the photos published by the newspapers of the province of Latina who have documented, from 2010 to 2012, the closure of other factories in the region, the protests of workers, strikes, and in part it will show the work of two professional photographers who reported on the events at Tacconi Sud.

“The idea – says Giancola – is making this a traveling event, replicating the same format in all the provinces of Lazio. At every stage, in every city the exhibition will enrich the photographic contributions of local professionals who have told local newspapers the news of corporate crises, strikes and redevelopment since 2010. The ultimate goal is to collect pictures from all the provinces of Lazio to organize a final event in the city of Rome, exhibiting the photographs, the testimonies of the workers and the screening of the documentary Atlantis, which remains to today one of the few developments [during Italy’s crisis] to have ended in a positive way. ”

Il Fatto Quotidiano

Translation by Revolting Europe

* Known in English as The Women Workers’ War

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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