Several hundred aluminium workers in Rome have clashed with the police during a protest against the proposed closure of a loss making Sardinian smelting plant.
A meeting was being held in the Industry ministry in Rome, between government officials, union representatives, and company bosses. The workers attempted to storm the building, set off firecrackers, and threw missiles, but they were beaten back by riot police.
It has been reported 20 people (mainly police officers) have suffered minor injuries during the clashes.
Paulo Manca, a worker at the plant said that:
“If the factory closes, the whole of the south of Sardinia will die”.
The smelting plant provides 2000 jobs for workers on the Island of Sardinia. The closure of the plant will be a huge blow for the island which already has an unemployment rate at well above the Italian national average.
The Italian industry ministry is currently in the process of mediating (rubber stamping) in 131 disputes between companies planning to close factories or slash jobs and trade unions. Across these disputes, more than 163,000 jobs are on the line.
Back at the factory on Sardinia, three workers are now into a third night of a protest at the top of a 167ft high water tower.
Unless a buyer is found for the plant it will close in December.