ITUC OnLine – September 28, 2007(1)

Brussels, 28 September 2007 (ICTU OnLine): 1,850 people yesterday joined a “strike” in the internet virtual world “Second Life” against IBM.  The action, organised by Global Union Federation UNI, was undertaken in support of IBM workers in Italy who having requested a modest salary increase, had their “productive results benefit” cancelled by the company resulting in a loss of some Euros 1,000 income each.

“It was kind of like a normal demonstration”, said on of the participants. “People were talking to each-other, all united in the same goal – a fair deal for the IBM employees”.

While IBM has yet to react to the protest, during the even the company did shut down parts of their “business centre” to visitors, and when some of the virtual strikers managed to get into an IBM staff meeting, they were immediately asked to leave.  Instead of agreeing to allow the protesters to speak to them, the company ended the staff meeting.

“IBM workers had to resort to this innovative protest due to the refusal of management to talk to their representatives.  We hope that this action will help make the company realise that it should share the benefits of its success with the people who are responsible for that success”, said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.

The ITUC is calling on IBM to hold proper discussion with the Italian union committee concerned, Rappresentenza Sindacale Unitaria, which organised the virtual strike in conjunction with UNI.