Monday, November 05, 2007

The workers of IBM Italy have won a great victory following the "virtual strike" at IBM's presence on the cyberworld 'Second Life' last September 27th. (see previous articles here at Molly's Blog). The following is the statement from the people who coordinated the action at Second Life. It has been edited slightly for grammar. From :
"One month after a virtual protest staged in Second Life with almost 2,000 avatars demonstrating on the IBM islands a new contract with IBM Italy has been signed.
The new agreement, which still needs to be approved by the IBM Italy workforce, reinstates the performance bonus that was cut unilaterally by IBM management.
The agreement signed by IBM Italy and the trade union Rappresentanze Sindacali Unitarie (RSU) not only includes the performance bonuses from 2007 up until 2010 but also payments by IBM into a national health insurance fund. It also states that negotiations will continue with respect to IBM industrial and business strategies in Italy and the improvement of internal communication policies.
The situation abruptly improved and negotiations after the former country manager left IBM in the middle of October. He was responsible for the pay cuts in the first place. His departure cleared the air and facilitated constructive negotiations between social partners as could be expected from the professional management of a high-tech company.
The virtual demonstration organized on September 27 for a whole day certainly had an impact on this positive development. Almost 2,000 virtual protesters from 30 countries populated the IBM presence in Second Life and solicited an unprecedented media echo from all over the world, including TV and radio stations, daily newspapers, computer and business magazines. The virtual protest had been supported by global unions such as the International and European Metalworkers Federations (IMF and EMF) and UniGlobal Union.
The threat of strike action in the real world by the Italian unions after the virtual protest also certainly helped to break the deadlock. yet the impact of this historic action in second Life must not be underestimated."

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