One worker is missing after a huge tornado hit the Ilva steelworks in Taranto, the surrounding area and the nearby town of Statte, on the morning of November 28. The worker fell into the sea, as the crane he was working on with three colleagues collapsed in the terrible wind.
The entire plant lost all power and lightning struck a tower, causing the crash of several big blocks of cement inside the hot metalworking area. Large fires broke out, some areas of the plant had to be evacuated and workers immediately left all other areas. A tower, a chimneystack and a warehouse collapsed and 20 workers were injured. All streets around the plant were closed due to the risk of explosion.
This terrible event comes hard on the heels of the factory management’s decision to shut down the plant, thereby blackmailing the judiciary which put its most important men under arrest and the city protesting against the deadly consequences of the pollution coming from the steelworks.
On November 27 hundreds of workers occupied the Ilva management offices in Taranto, while in Genoa the workers of another Ilva plant protested, blocking major roads. Maurizio Landini, leader of the metallurgical union FIOM CGIL, has demanded a partial and temporary re-nationalization of the plant (it was privatized in 1995) in order to solve the enormous environmental problems in Taranto whilst also preserving jobs.
Two days after an arrest warrant was issued, Fabio Riva (son of founder Emilio Riva and deputy chairman of Riva Group) is untraceable and the offshore financial accounts of the group, according to the investigation, look in a much worse shape than they should be. The head of the tenth largest steel group in the world and the owner of the plant holding the European record for deaths in the workplace and causing the poisoning of an entire province, is on the run.