Mittal to bring ILVA research centre to Genoa

Genova - The business plan will be unveiled -and discussed - next Thursday, but AM Investco Italy’s (Arcelor Mittal and Marcegaglia’s) plan to set up a research centre in Taranto is well known. Even to the unions. So the Genoese secretaries of UILM and FIM CISL are now asking for the centre to be built in Genoa

di Simone Gallotti

Genova - The business plan will be unveiled - and discussed - next Thursday, but AM Investco Italy’s (Arcelor Mittal and Marcegaglia’s) plan to set up a research centre in Taranto is well known. Even to the unions. So the Genoese secretaries of UILM and FIM CISL are now asking for the centre to be built in Genoa: “It would guarantee jobs and allow us to find a solution, even if a partial one, for the 400 workers who have left the plant over the course of many years,” said Alessandro Vella and Antonio Apa, FIM CISL and UILM’s secretaries. “We must guarantee quality employment prospects in our area. This is what we are asking of Calenda, Toti and Bucci,” Apa said. “On 9 November we will also discuss the case of Genoa. For any of them not to appear would be a strategic error.” The two unions will be at the meeting “because we are not traitors,” Vella explained. “Giving up on negotiations would leave the workers on their own.” In the background to Genoa’s proposal, there is the trade union war: UILM and FIM CISL will be included in that national meeting, but the Genoese FIOM will not be there: “They are snatching the programme agreement right out from under us,” said Bruno Manganaro, the leader of FIOM’s metalworkers. A workers’ assembly was convened on Monday to decide how to continue the fight.

The underestimation of the “Genoa problem” is also at issue, because for FIOM, the meeting called for 14 November and dedicated to the environmental clean-up, is focused entirely on Taranto. FIOM’s intention is to call a new strike, which could start as soon as the assembly is over.

Vella and Apa are not in agreement and attend the meeting with the national FIOM union: “One has to be at the meeting in order to find a solution. However, we are aware that Genoa has its own history, and it has a programme agreement that has made it possible for us to look to the future with hope so far, and should continue to do so.” Apa widens the fracture: “If someone (editor’s note: the FIOM) is thinking of playing hardball in hopes of a parallel negotiation, they should forget about it.” The Genoese trade unions will go to the meeting with Mittal in order to “dismantle the plan that calls for 600 redundancies in Genoa.”

The Programme Agreement will be used to support the negotiations: “It should be clear that there are no redundancies,” the two unions say, although Apa admits that the programme agreement “must be revitalised in terms of industrial framework, investments and personnel.”

Negotiating without the FIOM - which represents a majority of the workers in Genoa, although the other two unions say “only by a few more members,” - “doesn’t mean that they are being hamstrung, on the contrary,” Vella said. “The FIOM only wants visibility and there are political interests behind it.”

For this reason, the other two unions will not join the strike, if it is called. Meanwhile Toti will meet Minister Calenda in Rome next Wednesday to talk about Genoa, before the trade union meeting. AM Investco is expected the next day.

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