Logistics and crisis: The supply chain system in the Po valley region

Voices and sights[11]

The long wave of the “Arab Spring”.

The main aim of this final part, is to propose some voices and sights from the logistics gate. What clearly arise immediately from the struggles in Po valley region, is the leading role of migrant workers. We encountered different biographies, but also different perspectives regarding the future and different ways of using migration. Compared to the older generation of migrants, this new generation is moving in several different directions, with higher expectations that push them not to accept certain conditions of exploitation.

The experience of the so called “Arab Spring” has certainly influenced this new approach to migration, a strong will to improve life conditions through involvement in social action, the ability to organize groups and protests, in short, to take public space as a political arena to express demands. The politicization of the square is a central aspect of this political movement. There are, of course, many other factors that have effected these new paths of migration.

Speaking with some of the younger migrant workers about their future, many new and interesting ideas emerged. For example, one of them said “Seeing as we’ve gotten rid of Ben Ali, we’ll get rid of the bosses”. This, as well as portraying the conflict at the heart of the cause, is also indicative of the never ending struggle migrants face in attaining their rights.
A Spectre called Crisis   

The perception of the crisis within the logistics sector can be ascribed to a kind of “narrative of the crisis”. There are at least two important aspects related to this: first of all, the negotiations between the various parties involved in the action at Ikea’s warehouse in Piacenza revealed that it was the local political representatives, the cooperative representatives and the unions who have effected the specter of delocalization, catalyzed by the economic crisis. An interesting fact was that the representatives of Ikea had no intention of leaving Piacenza. This fact begs the question whether the intentions of the local representatives were insincere, and use the crisis to cut back some of the worker’s right, or rather a result of their inability to grasp the real situation and their susceptibility to be influenced by a simplified reading of economic processes. This question provides an interesting starting point for further research.

On the other hand, is interesting to see how the workers’ point of view on crisis emerges from the interviews. The crisis appears to them as an exploitative strategy used by the bosses, who live
the crisis like as an opportunity to increase their own benefit. Some migrants workers come to declare that the crisis doesn’t actually exist at all besides the form of exploitation, underlining instead the political and entirely deceptive function of this condition.

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