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Tension at VTE (Genoa): a long wait ends in fight

Genoa - He pursued the port worker in his forklift. When he reached him, first he blocked the road with his vehicle, then he went on the attack, hitting him in the face. And all this took place inside the port of Pra’. VTE will be on strike for 24 hours on 2 July

Genoa - He pursued the port worker in his forklift. When he reached him, first he blocked the road with his vehicle, then he went on the attack, hitting him in the face. And all this took place inside the port of Pra’. “We feared that the daily tensions created between the waiting truck drivers and operators working at PSA in Pra’ could explode,” Duilio Falvo, the secretary of UIL Trasporti Genova for the port, pointed out.

“What happened is unacceptable, as it is unacceptable for truck drivers to spend 5 or 6 hours waiting to load or unload. Even after the fatal accident in March, we were already pressing for a change in conditions on the Pra’ cargo area. But nothing has been done.” And while the unions are together asking for an urgent meeting with the Harbour Authority, VTE will be on strike for 24 hours on 2 July.

Last Tuesday evening. It was just after 7 o’clock. There were dozens of vehicles waiting to load or unload in the port of Pra’s cargo area. “It’s a daily problem”, explains Paolo Saccani, from UIL Trasporti, RSU. “2,500 trucks arrive at the port every day. They are essentially divided into two gigantic waves: in the early morning, and in the early afternoon. Once inside the terminal, they can’t do anything but wait in line.” Tensions have been running high at VTE for a long time.

Amidst the large vehicles waiting, the forklifts for the goods shuttle back and forth at the front end of the port. Suddenly, one of the drivers manoeuvred his truck out of the queue and pursued a port worker who he claims ignored him. What happened next was right out of a movie.

“The truck driver drove alongside the worker with his colleague on board,” said Saccani, who was present during the attack. “He then made a very dangerous manoeuvre to block the road. That’s when the fight started”. The truck driver climbed up to the cockpit of the forklift and hits the port worker several times. There was turmoil in VTE’s cargo area. The port workers, other lorry drivers, and then the police got involved.

The port worker, who was hit several times in the face, was taken to hospital in Voltri, where he will spend ten days.

“Despite last March’s fatal accident and the subsequent strike for safety in the port, nothing has been done,” RSUs from the three main unions wrote in a press release. “On 2 July we will go on strike again - we are waiting for an urgent meeting with the Port Authority.”

On March 26th, Eugenio Fata, a 60-year-old truck driver, was run over inside the port of Pra’ and died. “At that time we asked for urgent action to ensure that transporters could stop safely and asked VTE to solve the problem of long waits. Nothing has changed”. This is what UIL Trasporti’s national coordinator Giovanni Ciaccio had to say on the subject. And the unions, which are of one opinion on the matter, emphasised the Port Authority’s inaction.

The Authority promised to build a reception area for the lorries. The port’s top management has also failed to take any action. “The rest and refreshment area for lorry drivers is just one approach to solving the problem,” continues Ciaccio, “but on its own, it’s not enough. We asked VTE to create a space where hauliers could load and unload without waiting, so as to limit inconvenience and the tensions that affect the dock workers, but nothing happened. We are still waiting.” Therefore, on 2 July, the port of Pra’ will go on strike.

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