Hot Autumn

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The Hot Autumn (Italian: Autunno caldo) of 1969–70 is a term used for a series of large strikes in factories and industrial centers of Northern Italy, in which workers demanded better pay and better conditions. In 1969 and 1970 there were over 440 hours of strikes in the region. The decrease in the flow of labour migration from Southern Italy had resulted in nearly full employment levels in the northern part of the country, meaning that the workforce there now had the leverage to start flexing its muscles.


Due to increased literacy levels and student protests, spurred by similar events in May 1968 in France, leftist students started agitating for social reforms and increased class consciousness. Workers joined in on this, and began to demand for increased wages. Many of them were being laid off because of increased efficiencies in factories. Not all of the workers demands for collective control were achieved, but more basic demands such as a 40-hour work week, and increased pay were.[1][page needed]

The reasons for discontent varied - while the usual demands for better pay and working conditions were a factor, the tensions were also increased by the fact that much of the workforce had migrated from the much poorer south. They were generally unhappy at the society that had forced them to leave their homes in search of work, and wanted to get back at the employers who, in their view, had been exploiting them with lower than average wages for so many years.

The phrase "hot autumn" has since been applied in the Italian press to describe other periods marked by significant strikes, although in later decades, such seasonal strikes have more often been directed against government's budget plans, which are usually planned and publicly debated during the autumn months.

See also[edit]

Similar periods in other countries around the same time:


  1. ^ A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics, 1943-1988 by Paul Ginsborg

External links[edit]