Monday, March 08, 2010

Redundancy Island

How a group of laid off workers took over an uninhabited island and began their protest.

When so-called "reality TV" programmes started mushrooming up one after the other, many commented on the fact that the only "real" thing about them was in the name.

And yet, as they quickly saturated television, their artificial, dumb and repetitive formula will probably be judged by history as the Noughties' worst cultural legacy.

Back in 2005, we wrote that a Temping Idol or Casual Employee Academy would have been a good antidote to the binge of televisual fakery that goes by the name of "reality".

Now, a dramatic story is actually underway and it's no fake.

A group of workers barricaded themselves on Asinara, a small island off the northern coast of Sardinia. For decades, and until 1997, the island was used as a maximum security prison, and its only inhabitants were prisoners and warders.

After being collectively laid off four months ago, on February 24, a group of workers from a chemical company called ENI landed at Asinara and set camp at the old prison.

This is when their L'isola dei Cassintegrati, "Redundancy Island", started. Though there are no celebrity and no television crews, the workers are hoping to direct collective focus towards their plight.

Their families help them set up a Facebook group which has already gained over 14,000 supporters. It reads:

"Redundancy Island is a 'real' reality, unfortunately, where no-one is famous but everyone is jobless. Hidden away on an island which is the symbol of what a once Great Sardinia which is now in the throes of a deep crisis, we are dwelling in cells which are no worse than the prison bars that the national government, the regional one and ENI presented us with.

There are no yachts, billionaires or showgirls on this island, just the crude reality of unaccountable politics and a state-controlled company – ENI – pursuing its business goals as they trample on hundreds of families. Not least, a group of brave workers fighting for their rights".

Since redundancy notices were served in November, the workers have had to make do with a single 800 Euro payout.

"It's embarrassing that we have to mimick Celebrity Island to remind people of what's going on in both Italy and Sardinia", said one of the protesters to Italian daily la Repubblica.


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

The UK is fast becoming a huge redundancy island.

the patriot said...

Trust someone to talk down the UK without explaining why. Absurd.

As for the OP about the Sardinians, there is a downturn you know, and I'd like to read what exactly they are proposing instead.

Like in Teesside, if a firm runs out of money they run out of money.

Taronja said...

My first foray into here in quite a long time and nice to see 'the patriot' is still on top his game talking copious amounts of shite.

The sophistication of his arguments is heartbreaking.

Anyhow, for what it's worth, I wish those workers in Sardinia all the luck that they need. It takes real guts to do what they're doing.

Anita said...

Best of luck to those guys.