Italian bosses’ misogyny

This video is called Berlusconi‘s Women – Italy.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Italy’s covert war against women

Wednesday 25 January 2012

by Tom GIll

Women are enemy number one in a covert war in Italian workplaces. They are the hidden victims of a backward, chauvinist capitalist class, enemy number one in a covert war.

Some 800,000 Italian women are forced out of their jobs every year by unscrupulous and deceitful employers, new official figures show.

It is a national scandal known forced resignations and it works like this.

At the start of their employment new recruits are asked to sign a blank or undated letter of resignation along with their contract.

They are told it’s just a formality and it’s understandable that many don’t question this when, as in most of the cases, it comes packaged with a prized permanent post.

An offer that can’t be refused, you could say.

But then you want to start a family. That’s when the pre-prepared resignation letter is pulled out of the employer’s file, dusted down and dated.

And instead of looking forward to maternity leave, the employee is sent home for good. Figures show 90 per cent of cases relate to women who become pregnant.

To make matters worse, there’s only a slim chance of obtaining justice after the event, as it has proved very difficult in the courts to show that the employee didn’t voluntarily hand in their notice.

We are not talking here of a backward country that simply hasn’t caught up with the times.

Provisions for maternity are actually pretty good by European standards.

But for many women the clock is being turned back, in particular the younger generation. Thirteen per cent of those born after 1973 lose their jobs through this route compared with 6.8 per cent of those born between 1946 and 1953.

The centre-left government of Romano Prodi that was elected in 2006 clamped down on this illegal practice by introducing an official system of numbering and a 15-day shelf-life for resignation forms.

But this had barely been put in place when the subsequent right-wing administration of Silvio Berlusconi, elected in spring 2008, effectively neutralised it, thus ensuring Italy has one of the lowest employment rates among women in the EU.

The current “technical” government of Mario Monti is now at loggerheads with unions over plans to change labour laws that will make it easier to fire workers.

This isn’t a “reform,” according to the more established definition of the word, before neoliberals began applying it to cases of social regression.

A genuine reform, instead, would be to end a practice that forces women to choose between motherhood and work.

In recent days Italy’s blogosphere and the opposition Democrats have stepped up campaigning on the issue. Will Monti, who has declared a commitment to “fairness” and “equity,” listen?

It’s misery for people in Spain these days. Well, most Spaniards, not the likes of Francisco Luzon, a senior executive at Santander bank.

Luzon, it emerged this week, has left the country’s largest bank with a pension of €56 million.

His retirement nest egg is quite a bit larger than the €860-odd a month the average Spaniard gets, or rather, will get once he or she has worked those extra two years (until 67) that form part of changes to the pension system introduced last year.

The aim of the pension “reform,” and indeed cuts to pay, welfare and public services, is to help reduce the deficit.

That’s the deficit caused by Luzon and others within the upper echelons of the world of finance, whose reckless lending and speculation led to a gigantic bubble that burst, wrecking the economy and thus the public finances.

The scary thing is that Luzon, who also earned €1.66m in “fixed” pay in 2011, isn’t top of Santander’s gold-plated pension league.

Chief executive officer Alfredo Saenz has €87m in retirement funds.

In contrast, the chairman Emilio Botin only has €25m to look forward to in his old age. My heart bleeds.

Tom Gill blogs at

On February 13 last year 1.5 million women flooded the streets and squares of 230 cities across Italy to demand respect from the political elite and, above all, from billionaire premier Silvio Berlusconi: here.

4 thoughts on “Italian bosses’ misogyny

  1. Unemployment climbs to 24%

    SPAIN: The official unemployment rate has jumped to nearly 24 per cent in the fourth quarter, Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro said today.

    Mr Montoro told a parliamentary commission that official figures due out today will show 5.4 million people were out of work at the end of December – up from 4.9 million in the third quarter when the jobless rate was 21.5 per cent.

    Spain already has the highest unemployment rate of the 17 eurozone states and is near its record of 24.5 per cent unemployment in 1993.


  2. Pingback: More European unemployment and child labour | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Berlusconi paid Mafia for protection-top Italy court

    ROME | Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:25pm IST

    (Reuters) – Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi paid large sums of money to the Sicilian Mafia to protect himself and his family from kidnapping in the mid-1970s, Italy’s highest appeals court said on Tuesday.

    Cosa Nostra’s protection “was not free”, the court said, adding that the media magnate was a victim of extortion.

    “Berlusconi handed over conspicuous sums of money to the Mafia,” the supreme Court of Cassation said in a 146-page document explaining its decision last month to quash a trial against Marcello Dell’Utri, a Sicilian who worked for Berlusconi in those years.

    In the 1970s, Italian criminal organizations routinely kidnapped wealthy people or their children, often in the wealthy north of the country, and held them for ransom.

    The most notorious example was John Paul Getty III, the grandson of oil baron John Paul Getty Senior, who was taken from central Rome and held for 5 months by the Calabrian mob in 1973. Getty’s ear was cut off and mailed to an Italian newspaper to push the family into paying a ransom.

    Vittorio Mangano, a Sicilian mobster later convicted of murder, lived in Berlusconi’s home near Milan in the mid-1970s, allegedly to tend the horses. At the time Berlusconi had two small children with his first wife.

    In 2008, Berlusconi said Mangano “behaved perfectly. He lived with us and accompanied my children to school”.

    Mangano died in 2000 of natural causes.

    Palermo prosecutor Salvatore Borsellino described Mangano as a kingpin of Cosa Nostra’s business interests in northern Italy, in one of the last interviews he gave before being assassinated by a Mafia car bomb in 1992.

    Although Berlusconi is mentioned in the court ruling, he was not involved in the case.

    The judicial document explains why the high court struck down a conviction against Dell’Utri, who is now a senator for Berlusconi’s People of Liberty party.

    The court threw out Dell’Utri’s conviction by two lower courts for colluding with Cosa Nostra because Palermo magistrates had failed to prove part of the case. A retrial will now be held.

    Dell’Utri had been sentenced to seven years in prison.

    Berlusconi, undermined by sex and corruption scandals, was forced to resign as prime minister last November and replaced by technocrat Mario Monti after Italy was confronted with the risk of plunging into a Greek-style debt crisis.

    He says left-wing magistrates have waged a campaign for decades to drive him from power and subvert democracy.

    Berlusconi is currently a defendant in five trials, one over charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and the others on fraud and corruption charges.

    (Reporting by Virginia Alimenti Writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Barry Moody and Mark Heinrich)


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