Taranto workers keep striking, after judicial order stops production in the ILVA steelworks for environmental damages. As workers are asked to choose between keeping their job and protecting their health, tensions rise among the various unions involved in the struggle.
Today Ilva, the biggest steel industry in Europe, has stopped for a 24 hour strike. Its plant in Taranto, the most important steelworks in the whole continent, was stopped by a judicial measure by reason of the immense damages it has caused to the environment and the health of residents. Eight of its most important managers – including the head of the group, Emilio Riva – are under house arrest.
Two rallies have crossed the city during the morning; one led by the three major italian unions CGIL, CISL, and UIL which called the strike, and the other by base unions and social movements. The first rally asked for the sequestration to be revoked and for the reopening of the plant. Ilva employs directly 12.000 workers here and Taranto’s economic situation depends on it almost entirely.
The second rally demanded the immediate closure of the steelwoks, responsible for thousands of deaths and for the destruction of Taranto’s environment, in which agriculture, livestock breeding, and fishing are compromised. According to the base unions and social movements, the CGIL, CISL, and UIL are too close to the ownership. UIL leader, Luigi Angeletti, told reporters that his union won’t accept the closure for any reason. Fiom (a sector of the CGIL) leader, Maurizio Landini, asked for both work and the right to health. Taranto workers refuse to accept having to choose between work and health, but the major unions seem to have made a decision. A different point of view comes from Giorgio Cremaschi, from the left-wing of Fiom, who demanded the expropriation of Ilva and that the ownership should be forced to pay for the entirety of the damage it caused.
The strike also involved other Ilva plants in Italy. In Genova a big rally crossed the city, with the participation of many delegations from other industries and of the new mayor Marco Doria.
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