From 1 October, the young woman from Tarantino will do the necrophora in the morgue of the Giannuzzi hospital in Manduria, whom President Sergio Mattarella appointed Knight of Merit of the Republic at the end of 2020 because, with his complaint to the Slc CGIL union, he closed a call center that exploited and underpaid staff. It is the story of Michela Piccione, 35 years old from Sava, an agricultural center on the Salento side of the province of Taranto. Manduria is a few kilometers from Sava. Married and with two young children, Michela spent eight years in the world of the call center. In what he closed last year, he had been there since 2017.
When Mattarella made her a knight seeing in her gesture of denunciation a statement in favor of legality, Michela had already changed her job. She had in fact become a socio-health worker, assigned to the Covid ward of the Giannuzzi di Manduria hospital. He also contracted Covid. Later, she became an auxiliary to the Giannuzzi emergency room. The day after the announcement of the knighthood, Tim stepped forward and offered her a permanent job in Taranto. But Michela has given up on it. She did not want to feel, she said then, “a privileged” also because other workers with her had shared the battle against the call center. Furthermore, he stated, “I did not want to sacrifice further attention and time to devote to my children. I thanked the company for the wonderful gesture because it gave me a dream ».
“It hurts more to witness suffering”
To become a necrophora in the staff of ASL Taranto, he passed a competition. Among the six contestants, she was the only woman. And it seems that in this work there are no other women. No reluctance? “It hurts more to witness the suffering of sick people – he says -. For me, it was harder to endure their suffering. Seeing a person who dies of suffocation, I do not wish it to anyone. I may seem cynical, but in many cases death, although unbearable for many reasons, was a kind of liberation from suffering ». Furthermore, he adds, “the assistance to a body is part of the training of a socio-health worker. And anyway, for me it is important to have won a stable position after years of insecurity ». The new assignment will start in a few weeks but Michela also has another public competition at stake: chemical operator at the Arsenale of the Navy of Taranto, the plant that deals with works and maintenance on ships.
“The call center paid me 33 cents an hour”
The announcement of the knighthood by Mattarella left her, at the end of 2020, first in disbelief. Then pride and happiness took over. In the call center he had reported to the CGIL SL, the staff, crowded into two small rooms, were paid 33 cents an hour. «It was a mini apartment, with two very small rooms and 35 employees – he recalls -. We alternated between the first and second round. There were 11 of us in the smallest room. The hourly wage was supposed to be 6.51 euros gross but we got 33 cents an hour. We received 92 euros for a total month of work performed every day for 6 hours a day. When we took the paycheck to the union, they could hardly believe it ».