Genova - The contents of a communique issued by AM Investco yesterday, about the future structure of what is still the largest steel group in Italy confirm that the ILVA debacle is far from over. Finding a buyer has not solved ILVA’s troubles, which have now returned with a vengeance. As expected, the new owners intend to slash jobs, and making their views public has done nothing to quell worker anxiety. The steel mill facility will be subject to a heavy dose of lay-offs. Genoa will pay the highest price with 600 jobs, out of a total of 1,500 jobs, likely to be cut. It’s a major blow to the city’s social fabric, one that underscores the deindustrialization trend that Liguria is experiencing. And, obviously, with such an outcome looming, trade unions and local administrators are pointing out how the 2005 programme agreement is being ignored. At the same time, however, clearly, the text of this agreement refers to a past that has little to do with the current economic climate. In 2005, critical economic chasms had yet to form, and the world economy had not undergone the current radical reorganization: 12 years ago is a world apart, in terms of international economy functioning and its machinations.
Currently, there is a push for the concentration of businesses and production assets, imposed by the need not to be victimised by the struggle between the major world groups, juggernauts that square up to each other to the tune of mergers and acquisitions. Italy and its government officials, knowingly dragged their feet, refusing to take precautions and now they’ll have to deal with the gangrene.
Remedies should have been sought much earlier, made-to-measure for each locality and its specificity, so as to avoid the current endless decline, with irreparable damage to the economic fabric and to employment. There’ll be many who think that very little room for manoeuvre is left in our current globalized competition. But the necessary time was there, if only there had been the will and the ability to design solutions necessary to counter the advance of deindustrialization and impoverishment.
What was needed then, and is still needed today, is the activation of new local economy circuits, the creation of small-scale activities networks, region-by-region, to bring back both employment prospects and the proper conditions for work.
The endgame of national economic and industrial policies should not be more incentives for Industry 4.0. Rather, it needs to be a series of initiatives aimed at the local level that strive to spark economic growth in order to counter the decline.