IBM's Italian workforce is set to strike in Second Life tomorrow (27 September).
Organised by the UNI union, staff aim to hit the company’s virtual islands, as well as putting real life protesters on picket line duty outside its Italian facilities.
Although Sadville is, well, mainly sad, the virtual islands are being heavily promoted by IBM as a new communications and services link with customers, as well as a vehicle for work activities. Disrupting some of this could have some impact. UNI also hopes this protest will prove attractive to its younger, computer-savvy members.
The union is inviting all and sundry who support the cause and have a Second Life avatar to come and join the protest. This could prove to be the most interesting part. There are no industrial relations laws in Second Life, so no chance of being done for secondary picketing. For the experienced agent provocateur just about anything might go, and possibly will, all to a rave soundtrack provided by the younger members. Just remember to bring your own tank and flame throwers.
The cause of the strike is a pay dispute between IBM Italy and its unions - UNI, IMF and EMF - which put in a claim for what is termed a "small pay rise at a time of soaring company profits". The IBM response, according to the unions, was to cancel payment of a €1000 performance bonus. The firm is now, they say, refusing to talk to its 9,000 Italian workers.
Last time we asked, IBM didn’t want to talk to El Reg about this either. So let’s wait until Friday to see if it felt any pain. See you on the barricades. ®