chapter  Eleven
Social Change and Trade Union Movement in the 1970s
WithAris Accornero
Pages 19

This chapter explains the terms of a historical difference, such as a supposed "backwardness" of the Italian trade unions. In Italy, an attempt was made to institute changes incompatible with the established order –the distribution of income in the country and of power in the factory, prestige and status hierarchies – through a cumulative wave of changes, a democratic revolution led directly by a well defined stratum of workers and a certain type of trade union. In keeping with a typical orientation of Italian trade unionism, bargaining demands were almost immediately placed in the context of the political demand for new economic horizons. Turning to the unions' substitution of political parties in representing demands, this feature has been called specifically Italian. The trade union's substitution for the political system was not due only to the more political nature of the new claims in Italy because it was an international trend, and not a specifically Italian characteristic.