Genoa - “Mr. Minister, enough of your “musse” (Genoese dialect for lies, ed). We don’t want any more photo-ops and ripples of applause. We’ve been stung by the decree, and wish to find some resolution in its final draft.” Franco Ravera, the president of the committee of those displaced by the tragedy is the most outspoken participant at the meeting held in Genoa’s Port Authority headquarters.
He sits across infrastructure minister Danilo Toninelli, his deputy Edoardo Rixi, undersecretary Simone Valente, and a sort of “general staff” composed of M5S politicians from Genoa, deputies Traversi and Rizzone, Senator Botto, the regional councillors Melis and Salvatore and the group leader at the Municipality, Pirondini.
But it’s not just the displaced that are airing their demands to the government: the meeting involved committee representatives from Fegino, Borzoli, and Valpolcevera, the city’s areas mostly involved in the bridge’s collapse. Some of them were in Piazza De Ferrari, marching in support of the Valpolcevera valley, just minutes before.
They want answers to two pressing points: the process for workers’ redundancy pay that applies to local companies, and the compensation for the people displaced, who, in the end, will be forced to look for a new home. On this front, the exclusion of Autostrade from all negotiations has scared some families. “We’ve reached good agreements,” Ravera explains, “on compensation with the Region, and with the Pris program for those affected. If the government decides to remove Autostrade from the negotiations, we want guarantees of a fair treatment.”
In an interview with the Secolo XIX, the minister made the assurance that the government would advance the funds. But some scenarios circulating these days have not reassured the committees.
“There has been talk of 20 million being made available, which works out at about 100,000 euro per family. For us that is unacceptable,” Ravera says. He clarifies, “it’s not an amount with which one can hope to find a new home.” They’re asking for “at least 50”, Toninelli speculates, “The amount will have to be increased, there’s the possibility of making one payment this year and the other tranches in the coming years”, assures the minister, “but I’m not committing to any exact figures because other ministries should also wade in,” starting with that of the Economy.
Toninelli and Rixi firmly maintain the “maximum commitment” from their ministries. But it will be up to Tria to loosen the purse strings. And this also applies to the special workers redundancy fund, which the minister seemed to favour, but among the M5S parliamentarians there’s some reserve; “Undoubtedly there is a need, but we must clarify the eligibility criteria, we would not want anyone taking advantage of it,” one of the participants at the summit pointed out.
The amendments by the M5S coalition faction will be presented next week, after a discussion that will involve the Lega governing faction. The minister left Genoa Port Authority, without giving any statements to the press, and, similarly, neither earlier at the DA’s office, nor even earlier at the airport, when he ignored the workers at Pavimental, who were protesting. He likes to publicise his views with Facebook posts; “I’ve met once again with a delegation representing displaced persons and citizens experiencing severe hardships. I’ve told them that the government is already responding, and will very shortly give further response, to all their demands.” And he added, “Those gigantic stumps (of the bridge) that are seen almost from every part of the city’s skyline are a stark reminder that we will no longer allow anyone to put profit ahead of people’s lives.”