An Italian labor union in contract negotiations with IBM were slapped with a pay cut of over $1,300 per year, prompting them to plan a unique strike against IBM’s virtual headquarters in Second Life.

RSU, the union representing the Italian IBM employees, have organized the online strike with the help of Union Network International. RSU represents about 9,000 workers, and is asking the 300,000-strong Second Life community to join them.

Speaking in an interview on the New World Notes blog, a Union Network International representative said, “It’s hard to predict how many IBM employees will join as most of them have given us their private email addresses to join the strike. A few of them have given IBM addresses, which has just allowed us to confirm the participation of IBM workers in a number of different countries.” The rep said they were expecting people from at least 18 different countries to participate in the strike.

“Protesting in SL is one of the means of pushing the issue forward,” he continued. “We need dialog with IBM and a better deal for the thousands of employees in Italy. One of the ways of getting there might be to catch their attention – and the media’s attention – with our planned SL actions.”

More information about the strike, which is scheduled to run from September 25-30, is available at the Second Life IBM Union Strike site, which includes information about signing up for Second Life as well as a strike registration page and links to download a “strike kit.” IBM, which maintains a significant presence in Second Life with a large corporate and marketing presence, has not commented.

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