Confederazione dei Comitati di Base

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Cobas logo.png
Full name Confederazione dei Comitati di Base
Office location Rome, Italy
Country Italy

The Confederazione dei Comitati di Base (Cobas) is a rank and file[1] trade union center in Italy. It was formed in the late 1980s by members who were dissatisfied with the leadership of the three main Italian confederations (CGIL, CISL and UIL). Many of its members see it as syndicalist, but it has also courted the Trotskyist group, the League for the Fifth International with whom it shared a platform at the anti-G8 protests in Rostock in 2007.

Cobas regard themselves as rank and file unions in contrast to the traditional, hierarchical unions that impose compromises on their members.[1][2][3] Comparable "rank and file" labor unions exist in France: the Fédération Syndicale Unitaire (FSU), and the Solidaires Unitaires Démocratiques (SUD) and their confederation in the Group of 10.[2]


The factory councils became more and more popular during the 1970s, and their co-existence with the traditional unions increased unionization. In 1978, the mainstream unions recentralised power to prevent rank-and-file practices and rules outside of their control.[4]


  1. ^ a b Gall (1995) quotation:

    [...] unofficial rank and file committees, Comitati di Base, known as Cobas, who have been at the forefront organising militant strike action in many industrial sectors since 1987. The COBAS have led strikes of railway workers, teachers, airport workers and bank workers as well as being heavily involved in organising general strikes and demonstrations against the government's austerity measures. For example, in 1992, they alone, and against the Italian Communist Party, organised a 300,000 strong demonstration in Rome against rising unemployment and have called for half-day general strikes to be extended.

  2. ^ a b Gamble (2007) p.209
  3. ^ Wright (1999)
  4. ^ Changing industrial relations in Europe By Anthony Ferner, Richard Hyman(1998) p.471


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