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General Confederation of Labour (Italy)

  (Redirected from Confederazione Generale del Lavoro)
The 1906 Congress of the CGdL, at the Camera del Lavoro, Milan.

General Confederation of Labour (Italian: Confederazione General del lavoro, CGdL) was an Italian labor union, founded in 1906, under the initiative of socialist militants. Having survived the Fascist dictatorship and the Second World War as an underground organization, the CGL joined the cross-party CGIL labor federation in 1945.




The Confederazione Generale del Lavoro was founded 1 October 1906 but its formation goes back to the first Camera del Lavoro (Workers' Hall) begun in Milan in 1891, and to the founding of its largest constituent unions (especially the FIOM national metal workers' union created in 1901). The CGdL's first secretary was the Reformist Socialist Rinaldo Rigola (1906–1918). He was followed in 1918 by fellow reformist Ludovico D'Aragona (1918–1925).

Underground and LiberationEdit

During the fascist dictatorship the CGdL survived clandestinely under the leadership of Bruno Buozzi. At the beginning of 1927, in the face of violent repression of the left, the reformist leadership of the CGdL chose to disband the organization, feeling that any recognition of the fascist regime prevented independent trade union activity. Their decision was opposed by Communists and left socialists like Buozzi, who spent the next decades maintaining the old trade union Confederation clandestinely. The underground CGdL faced a perilous course, not only because of the fascist repression, but because of the dramatic changes in direction of the Communist International (IC). In 1929 Italian communist militants were ordered to enter fascist trade unions, only to be told in 1935, when the IC adopted the Popular Front strategy, to reconcile with the Socialists and other anti-fascists in trade union cells and confront the Fascist state.


After its forced suspension, unions were reconstituted under the Pact of Rome (3 June 1944), confederating the socialist, communist and Christian Democrat unions in the CGIL (Italian General Confederation of Labor). The influence of the PCI and Palmiro Togliatti, was strong in the federation, and in 1948 the PSI and Christian Democrat unions left to form the UIL and CISL.

See alsoEdit


  • Antonio Alosco, Alle origini del sindacalismo, La ricostruzione della CGL nell’Italia liberata (1943–1944), Prefazione di Giorgio Benvenuto, SugarCo Edizioni, Milano, 1979.
  • Arturo Peregalli, L’altra Resistenza. Il PCI e le opposizioni di sinistra in Italia 1943-1945, Graphos, Genova, 1991.